Sheffield Low Emission Study Report

The whole urban area of Sheffield was declared an Air Quality Management Area in 2010, as it broke the health-based EU Limits for Nitrogen Dioxide gas and PM10 fine dust particles, both of which are damaging to human health and the environment. Overall, the adverse effects of poor air quality are such that it has… Read more »

The whole urban area of Sheffield was declared an Air Quality Management Area in 2010, as it broke the health-based EU Limits for Nitrogen Dioxide gas and PM10 fine dust particles, both of which are damaging to human health and the environment.

Overall, the adverse effects of poor air quality are such that it has a bigger impact on life expectancy than road traffic accidents or passive smoking[1].  Each year the air quality impact on health costs the Sheffield economy £160m and results in up to 500 early deaths.

Transport emissions are the biggest single contributor, impacting most near motorways and within busy urban centres.  Furthermore, diesel fuel is a major source of pollutant emissions and was declared a Class 1 Carcinogen by the World Health Organisation in June 2012.

There is the potential for the UK government (and potentially Local Authorities) to be fined if EU Air Quality Limits continue to be breached beyond 2015.  Consequently an Air Quality Action Plan for Sheffield 2015 was approved by Cabinet on 11 July 2012 and contains 7 key Actions:

Action 1: Assess Feasibility for a Low Emission Zone

Action 2: Develop Infrastructure for Refuelling Low Emission Vehicles

Action 3: Promote Smarter Travel Choices

Action 4: Improve Engine Performance of Commercial Diesel Vehicles

Action 5: Mitigate the Impact of the M1 Motorway (particularly in the Tinsley Area)

Action 6: Develop Policies to Support Better Air Quality

Action 7: Control Industrial Emissions

The DEFRA funded Low Emission Zone (LEZ) Phase 1 Study was completed in November 2012 and concluded that any potential interventions that are aimed at one vehicle type alone are unlikely to remove all of the air quality problems resulting from transport emissions, increasing diesel car proportions is a major issue and modern vehicle (Euro) standards have not had the expected impact on Nitrogen Oxide emissions.

The main aim of the DEFRA funded LEZ Phase 2 Study was to further refine the assessment work undertaken in Phase 1 in order to provide robust evidence that could be used to develop an Air Quality Strategy that would support the new Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

The LEZ Phase 2 Study, which was completed in November 2013, is a factual, academic and evidence-based report which makes a number of recommendations that will now be considered by the Council.  These are the recommendations from the LEZ Phase 2 Study only (they are not Sheffield City Council policy):

  1. Minimum NOx emission standard (EURO VI) for buses
  2. Maximum NOx emissions rate levels for:
  • Taxis – affecting the ‘worst polluting’ 50% of the current fleet
  • Light Goods Vehicles (LGV < 3.5T) – affecting the ‘worst polluting’ 15% of the current fleet
  • Other Goods Vehicles (OGV > 3.5T) – affecting the ‘worst polluting’ 10% of the current fleet
  1. Measures to encourage 10% of private car users to switch from diesel back to petrol
  2. 5% reduction in emissions from both petrol and diesel private cars, by reducing car use, encouraging more-efficient driving styles and promoting travelling at different times
  3. 5% reduction in emissions from Other Goods Vehicles (OGVs > 3.5T) by more efficient routing and driving styles

Further work is now required to analyse the costs and benefits of the Study recommendations.  The Air Quality Action Plan will then be reviewed and updated.

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/environment/air-quality/LEZ-feasibility.html



[1] Environmental Audit Committee - Ninth Report Air quality: A follow up report

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