Report: Consider air quality impact of net zero to avoid another ‘dieselgate’

Tackling clean air and net zero together will save money and lives, according to new research from UK100.

The report calls on local and regional policymakers to consider the air quality impact of net zero policies to avoid another ‘dieselgate scandal’.

Yes We CANZ: Local leaders delivering Clean Air and Net Zero, introduces the concept of ‘Clean Air Net Zero’ (CANZ) — ensuring Net Zero policies include a clean air audit and vice versa.

It argues not enough has yet been done to learn from the mistakes that led to dieselgate, where diesel vehicles were promoted across Europe as a climate-friendly option without regard to the increase in deadly air pollution emissions associated with diesel combustion.

The network of local and national leaders committed to ambitious net zero and clean air action found aligning clean air and net zero policies will save £1.6bn a year.

The report identifies four key ‘win-win’ areas where clean air and net zero policies need to be ‘urgently aligned’, including transport, heating and improving the energy efficiency of our homes, managing nitrogen and ammonia emissions in farming and transparency.

woman walking on sidewalk

Polly Billington, Chief Executive of UK100, commented: ‘While it might feel like the scandal is firmly in our rearview mirrors, one of the most important lessons of “dieselgate” was that we cannot and must not divorce clean air and climate policies. Our new report demonstrates that acting on these issues together is easier than some might think.

‘With local authorities the best placed to deliver effective climate and clean air action, our report finds Clean Air Net Zero (CANZ) presents a series of win-win opportunities to support local and regional leaders to align the two agendas. From public transport to clean heating; from energy efficiency to farming, clean air and Net Zero goals are inexorably linked.

‘Aligning clean air and climate policies will save lives and money while accelerating Net Zero progress. And that’s why we’re calling on the government to give local authorities the support they need to avoid past mistakes and deliver cleaner air, warmer homes and a more secure future for their communities.’

The report calls on local authorities to:

  • Support a transport shift away from private car reliance
  • Make homes warmer through insulation and energy efficiency measures while switching to fossil-fuel-free heating systems
  • Work with the agricultural industry to support less intensive farming and reduce the level of ammonia emissions
  • Empower local communities to make informed choices with more data transparency and access

Photo by Charisse Kenion


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James Harkins
James Harkins
2 years ago

The use of urban trams with no pollution at the point of use with a very high modal switch out of cars 28%+ in some cases is a must have in the tool box to get clean air, the only public transport that doesn’t create PM 2.5s and brings many more benefits such as Regeneration, Congestion reduction, connectivity and many indirect benefits

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