§ Mr. Brandon-Bravo
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the Government's policy on emissions from heavy diesel engined vehicles; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Atkins
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is today urging the European Commission at the Environment Council to make proposals to introduce tighter controls on gaseous emissions from heavy diesels and to set limits for the first time for particulate emissions from these vehicles. The Government regard these proposals as long overdue.
Diesel emissions, in the form of oxides of nitrogen and particulates, are a significant cause of pollution and loss of amenity. Oxides of nitrogen (NOx) can damage plants and crops, as well as affect human health. Diesel particulates cause soiled buildings and discomfort to pedestrians and other road users.
The Government believe that the Community's long-term aim should be to set a mid-1990s diesel standard based as closely as possible on the US 1994 standard, both in limit values and test procedure. This is the strictest of all the diesel emission standards being considered worldwide. 691W In particular, it would afford substantial reductions in the amount of NOx and particulates that new vehicles may emit. I strongly support early action towards setting these tougher standards.