Private Members’ Bill on diesel particulate matter second reading date confirmed

The proposal sets out new standards for testing emissions on vehicles to ascertain roadworthiness in the context of air pollution and environmental impact.

A date has been confirmed for the second reading of a new Private Members’ Bill aimed at introducing new regulations for testing the level of particulate matter emitted by diesel engines. 

Put forward by Labour MP Barry Sheerman, the Bill was presented to Parliament on Tuesday 16th November, and will see its second reading on Friday 24th March 2023, at which point the House of Commons will debate the content. 

‘As a former Chair of the Select Committee on Education, and in much of my other work, I have always believed in pursuing good, evidence-based policies. On air pollution, the experts and the science are crystal clear. The challenge cannot be overestimated,’  Sheerman said. ‘All diesel vehicles need to be fitted with fully functioning and fully operational diesel particulate filters — DPFs. A DPF captures and stores dangerous emissions. If DPFs are not working and are not checked properly, that is how we get the pollution.

‘Independent research shows that a single faulty filter produces the same amount of pollution as a three-lane, 360-mile-long traffic jam compared with vehicles that have proper, functioning DPFs fitted. That is the distance between my constituency of Huddersfield and Land’s End,’ he continued. ‘In essence, my Bill would bring the UK up to the highest possible standards in MOTs. It would introduce new sensing technology that would identify less obviously defective but still dangerous filters.’

While conceding that checks on diesel particulate filters do feature in current diesel vehicle requirements, Sheerman went on to explain that this only determines if filters are obviously defective or missing completely. The result is an unacceptable risk of heavily polluting vehicles being allowed onto British roads. 

Sheerman has spoken out about the UK’s air pollution and environmental problems on a number of occasions in the past. Perhaps most famously this summer when he told warned of a ‘deeply poisonous’ atmosphere hanging over Westminster as a result of London’s notorious ambient pollution. ‘All the people who work in this parliament [are] breathing in poisonous air,’ he said at the time. 

The northern politician has also engaged with debate over the UK’s new Environment Bill before it became an Act last year. Among other things, he criticised a ‘lack of ambition from the Government’, explaining that: ‘We can only save the planet by international co-operation if we stop their friends who invest in companies that are exploiting the rainforest. We need to do that in a co-ordinated way across the planet, but the Bill lacks imagination and energy.’

The idea of cross-boundary, co-ordinated action on air pollution has been gaining traction this year. The United Nations International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies 2022 ran with the theme ‘The Air We Share’, highlighting how air pollution does not recognise borders. This point is reiterated by Defra’s Air Quality Minister in her recent op-ed for Air Quality News


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1 year ago

Yes Mike they can’t see the wood for the smoke.

1 year ago

Its a start however much of the 2023 pollution is going to be from the mass of houses now using Wood burning stoves due to Electric and Gas prices. Some will be burning unsuitable wood scavenged from broken fences and pallets. I hate to state the obvious but it seems our politicians don’t see things till its way too late

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