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Councils missing major NOx source

Stuart Spear01/06/2017 - 12:18

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Fridge units fall outside regulation
Fridge units fall outside regulation

Local authorities are failing to consider emissions from refrigerated vehicles when implementing their air quality strategies.

Research published by the technology company Dearman has revealed that while air quality strategies focus on emissions from diesel propulsion engines, poorly regulated refrigeration units are being ignored despite being far worse sources of pollution.

The report estimates that over the course of a year the typical transport refrigeration unit (TRU) powered by a secondary diesel engine will emit six times as much NOx and almost 30 times as much particulates as a Euro VI truck propulsion engine.

Refrigerated vehicles are used to make thousands of food deliveries throughout the UK’s towns and cities each day.

‘Replacing London’s auxillary TRUs with zero – emission alternatives would be the NOx equivalent of removing 5,600 Euro VI trucks or 154,000 Euro 6 diesel cars from Britain’s roads and the PM equivalent of removing 30,000 trucks or 328,000 cars,’ states the report.

‘There can be no justification for exempting TRUs from the rules governing the new Clean Air Zones or London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.’

Analysis by Dearman calculates the number of tonnes of NOx that could be cut for each of the UK’s proposed clean air zones if companies were forced to move over to already available zero emission technology.

Transport refrigeration units typically run on red diesel but are not covered by the Euro diesel standards covering vehicles.

While they fall under the EU Non-Road Mobile Machinery Regulations nearly all of them are below the 19kW threshold for emission limits, meaning they are effectively unregulated.

‘Red diesel’ is the term used for gas oil that is intended for use other than as fuel in road vehicles. It is so called because it has been a requirement since 1961 for it to be marked with a red dye as well as chemical markers to prevent its misuse in road vehicles.

The Dearman report calls for TRUs to be better regulated, for clean air zones to include emissions from TRUs and for the Government to ban the use of red diesel in refrigeration units to ‘abolish a perverse subsidy to a mature and highly polluting technology that undermines its own air quality objectives’.

The government is currently consulting on the tax benefits associated with the use of red diesel. 

‘The current Defra consultation fails to consider the environmental impact of subsidising red diesel which strikes me as a glaring example of how government is failing to be joined up given the same ministry is consulting on its air quality strategy at the same time,’ pointed out Tony Lewis, CIEH head of policy.’

Dearman is a technology company that produces zero-emission power and cooling systems.    

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