The UKgovernment is leaning on the nation’s automotive industry to try and resolvethe issue of particulate and plastic pollution on our roads and motorways.
A recentreport published by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) says there is afast-emerging issue regarding particulate matter from tyres and brakes,amounting to 10% of UK emissions of PM 2.5 by 2030.
It also confirmsthat particles derived from tyre and brake wear and road surface wear contributeto more than half of particle pollution from road vehicles today.
Given thehigh volume of fleet vehicles that journey up and down the UK’sdual-carriageways and roads, Environment Minister, Therese Coffey wants bothcommercial and non-commercial vehicles assessed to find ways to minimise thehealth impact of particulate matter released from brakes and tyres.
Ms Coffeysaid that the latest report makes it “clear that it is not just fumes from carexhaust pipes that have a detrimental impact on human health”.
“That is whyan ambition of our Clean Air Strategy is to address all sources of particulatematter, including those from transport,” added Coffey.
“Emissionsfrom car exhausts have been decreasing through development of cleanertechnologies and there is now a need for the car industry to find innovativeways to address the challenges of air pollution from other sources.”
Commercialfleets, along with domestic vehicles, have long been a target for reducedexhaust emissions, but further analysis is necessary to assess the impact ofparticulate matter from tyre and brake wear.
Mike Hawes,chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said:“The automotive industry is committed to improving air quality and has alreadyall but eliminated particulate matter from tailpipe emissions.
“Brake, tyreand road wear is a recognised challenge as emissions from these sources are noteasy to measure.
“A UnitedNations global group, including industry experts and government, is working tobetter understand, and agree how to measure, these emissions.
“Maintenanceof the road surface, as well as further investment in new vehicle technologies,is essential to reducing these emissions, without compromising safety and wewelcome further research in this area.”
Resolvingcar pollution from brakes and tyres is the next hurdle for the automotiveindustry to overcome, even among vehicle fleets that go fully electric.
It’s beensuggested that fragments of microplastics from tyres, as well as brakes androad surfaces reach rivers and seas. Transport ministers are keen to passstandards to improve tyres and brakes in the coming years.