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'Urgent action' required to combat car tyre and brake dust pollution

Published 11 July 2019

Government ministers are urging the automotive industry to cut pollution caused by brakes and tyres.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey and Transport Minister Michael Ellis are leading the push, following warnings in a new report published today by the Air Quality Expert Group. It claims that tyre and brake pollution could account for 10 per cent of fine particulate matter - known as PM 2.5 - by 2030.

>>> Government unveils ambitious plans to ban all petrol and diesel car sales by 2040

The report warns that a surge in the popularity of electric vehicles won't prevent serious levels of air pollution in city centres. 

Each time a car is driven, tiny pieces of particulate matter such as dust are released into the air from brake and tyre wear, as well as from the road surface. These particles enter the airstream having a detrimental impact on human health, says the report. Plastic particles from tyres are also deposited into sewers and can lead to harmful consequences for marine wildlife.

Cyclist -pollution -mask

As a solution, the report suggests the Government should encourage use of public transport and cycling in a bid to tempt people away from using their cars. It also says drivers should be educated on the advantages of more efficient driving styles, which could reduce tyre wear.

However, experts have warned that tackling these pollutants will be difficult - as it's not easy to measure how many of them are in the air.

"The automotive industry is committed to improving air quality and has already all but eliminated particulate matter from tailpipe emissions," said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

"Brake, tyre and road wear is a recognised challenge as emissions from these sources are not easy to measure."

The industry's concentration on reducing tailpipe emissions has contributed to a 29 per cent improvement in nitrogen oxide emissions since 2010, while sulphur dioxide emissions are down 62 per cent.

Comments

   on 12 July 2019

Gentle acceleration and braking causes less brake dust, tyre debris, tailpipe emissions, noise pollution and road wear. It also results in less fuel and maintenance costs for the motorist. We all know that fast acceleration makes little difference to most journey times.
With tongue in cheek, I suggest that maybe we should stop enjoying the performance of our vehicles and simply use them for A to B transport.

hissingsid    on 12 July 2019

If the Government is serious about encouraging people to use public transport, they need to increase it's availability, especially in rural areas, and reduce it's cost. My village gets a bus every two hours until about 5.00pm when the service stops, and the nearest railway station is four miles away.

I am not normally in favour of state intervention, but in the case of public transport I support the re-nationalisation of the railways and the subsidy of rural bus services.

Meanwhile I will continue to enjoy the freedom of the road in my cars.

mmmmm    on 12 July 2019

If the Government is serious about encouraging people to use public transport, they need to increase it's availability, especially in rural areas, and reduce it's cost. My village gets a bus every two hours until about 5.00pm when the service stops, and the nearest railway station is four miles away. I am not normally in favour of state intervention, but in the case of public transport I support the re-nationalisation of the railways and the subsidy of rural bus services. Meanwhile I will continue to enjoy the freedom of the road in my cars.

In terms, you do what you want, please yourself, cherry pick your opinions, but still feel the need to preach. Win, win, win and yet another win for you then...

Edited by mmmmm on 12/07/2019 at 14:59

JK62    on 12 July 2019

One way to immediately reduce tyre dust would be to remove speed cushions and keep the roads in a good state of repair.....ooh, was that a pig flying past?

ch3no2    on 12 July 2019

"However, experts have warned that tackling these pollutants will be difficult - as it's not easy to measure how many of them are in the air."

If it's so difficult to measure how does anyone know this is a problem?

I read some years ago that as brake dust and tyre particles are heavier than air they tend to fall to ground level and be washed down the drain with the rest of the junk on our roads - so they won't be hanging around in the air for too long

This sounds to me like the eco industry, having successfully reduced airborne pollutants and fearing being out of a job , looking around for something else to justify their jobs. How long will it be before we get scare stories about the danger of ozone from electric motors in cars??

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