Mayor to consider pollution impact of auxiliary engines

London emissions study, pencilled in for 2017 release, may quantify sources such as diesel transport refrigeration units for ‘the first time’

Data on emissions from auxiliary engines — such diesel transport refrigeration units — is being considered for inclusion in a London air quality study likely to be published in 2017, the Mayor has confirmed.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says data on auxiliary engine emissions could be included in future air quality study

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, says data on auxiliary engine emissions could be included in future air quality study

The London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI) study, carried out by King’s College London, is essentially a database with information on emissions from all sources of air pollutants in Greater London. The latest LAEI is currently being finalised for publication later this year.

And, while the London Mayor declined to do so for the upcoming LAEI study, he suggested information on emission sources such as auxiliary engines could be included in the following study, pencilled in for release in two years’ time.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Given the complexity of quantifying and incorporating emissions sources it is not possible at this stage to add include auxiliary engines such as refrigerated transport units. However, my officials are considering how best to do this for the following edition of the LAEI, which is likely to be published in 2017.”

His comments came in a written response to a question tabled last week (July 15) by London Assembly Member Stephen Knight, who had called on the Mayor to include nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions data from auxiliary engines in the LAEI study.

Auxiliary engines, which are generally diesel powered and used on trucks and vans to keep goods cool, are currently unregulated, which UK engineering company Dearman recently claimed makes such engines “disproportionately polluting”, emitting 163 tonnes of NOx onto the capital’s streets each year (see story).

Liberal Democrat Mr Knight commented:

“Auxiliary engines on delivery vehicles clearly have a serious impact on London’s air quality and it is time the Mayor took firm action to bring these dangerous emissions under control. These transport refrigeration units are a ‘hidden polluter’ and their emissions must now be properly measured and controlled.”

London-based Dearman — which develops zero emission transport refrigeration units — welcomed the Mayor’s comments, explaining that should data on auxiliary engines be included in the 2017 study, it would be the first time that a UK governmental body has measured and reported on emissions from secondary vehicle engines.

Dr Tim Fox, international ambassador for Dearman, said: “It’s a disgrace that 25 people die prematurely every day due to poor air quality in London. As we speak thousands of refrigerated vehicles are delivering food to shops, restaurants and our homes. They may go unnoticed, but every transport refrigeration unit also delivers large amounts of dangerous pollution onto our streets.

“The Mayor’s response shows a small but significant shift in attitude towards these disproportionate polluters. We could make a sizeable impact on both NOx and PM pollution and improve the quality of the air we breathe, by bringing transport refrigeration units up to modern emissions standards — or even better making them zero emission. That small change could have a very big impact.”


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