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The significance of vehicle emissions standards for levels of exhaust pollution from light vehicles in an urban area

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Glyn Rhys-Tyler, Professor Margaret Carol Bell CBE


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This paper addresses the research question “Are more stringent exhaust emissions standards, as applied to light vehicle type approval, resulting in reduced vehicle pollution in an urban area?” The exhaust emissions of a sample of over fifty thousand road vehicles operating in London were measured using roadside remote sensing absorption spectroscopy techniques (infrared and ultraviolet), combined with Automatic Number Plate Recognition for vehicle identification. Levels of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), nitric oxide (NO), and smoke (particulate) exhaust emissions are reported by vehicle class, fuel type, and Euro emissions standard. Emissions from petrol cars of each pollutant were all observed to display a statistically significant reduction with the introduction of each successive Euro emissions standard from Euro 1 onwards. However, Euro 2 diesel cars were observed to emit statistically higher rates of NO than either Euro 1 or Euro 3 standard diesel cars. The study also confirms the continuing ‘dieselisation’ of the UK passenger car fleet. Mean NO emissions from Euro 4 diesel cars were found to be 6 times higher than Euro 4 petrol cars, highlighting the need to develop a sound understanding of the current and future ‘in-use’ emissions characteristics of diesel vehicles, and their influence on local air quality. Smoke emissions from TXII London taxis (black cabs) were found to be statistically higher than either earlier TX1 or later TX4 model variants, with possible implications for local air quality policy interventions such as maximum age limits for taxis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rhys-Tyler GA, Legassick W, Bell MC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Atmospheric Environment

Year: 2011

Volume: 45

Issue: 19

Pages: 3286-3293

Print publication date: 21/03/2011

ISSN (print): 1352-2310

ISSN (electronic): 1873-2844

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.03.035


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