The Introduction of Roadside Lorry Emission Checks
Date: 20th June 2018 | By: Claire Malley | Categories: Health and Safety
Air pollution is detrimental to human health and local authorities have a legal duty to assess and monitor air quality within their district under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 in line with the Air Quality Objectives.From August 2017 the DVSA will include emission checks in their roadside surveillance.
Poor air quality is now more than ever a major public health problem, and in 2016 the Royal College of Physicians, and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that “Each year in the UK, 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with more linked also to exposure to indoor pollutants”.
Air Quality Assessment & Action
- One method that local authorities use to assess and monitor air quality is the installation of nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes along a roadway that several vehicles will use to determine the level of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The tubes tend to be located on lampposts or domestic properties as residents living in urban areas are more likely to be exposed to pollution and have an increased risk of developing cancer and heart disease.
- Another pollutant that is detrimental to health is particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10). Particulate matter can have negative effects on the respiratory systems and cardiovascular system and even be a cause of death. To monitor and assess particulate matter and other pollutants local authorities have automatic monitoring stations situated close to busy transport routes in urban areas or close to large industrial sites to capture the worst-case scenario.
If high levels of nitrogen dioxide and/or particulate matter were found in one area then the local authority must declare an Air Quality Management Area under the Environment Act 1995 and the local authority must implement control measures to reduce the levels.
Given the health risk posed by air pollution, the Government and other agencies have introduced measures to cut down emissions through the introduction of electric cars on our roads, low emission vehicles and changes to vehicle tax to incorporate vehicle emissions.
Roadside Vehicle Emission Checks
However, it has been identified that vehicle operators and/or drivers are fitting devices to some vehicles, in particular Lorries, to cheat vehicle emissions. From August 2017, roadside checks of Lorries carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will now include vehicle emission checks.
The DVSA will target drivers and the operators to prevent fraudulent vehicles on our road networks. If the DVSA finds a vehicle that is fraudulent they will give the driver and operator ten days to fix the emission system. If they fail to comply within ten days then a fine is issued and the vehicle will be prevented from being used on the road.
Typical finds that the DVSA have discovered to cheat emissions to cut the cost of operating are:
“Using devices designed to stop emissions control systems from working, removing the diesel particulate filter or trap, using cheap, fake emission reduction devices or diesel exhaust fluid, using illegal engine modifications which result in excessive emissions and removing or bypassing the exhaust gas recirculation valve”. (Source: DVSA)
The Police and the DVSA have powers to carry out checks on commercial vehicles at the roadside. They will also carry out checks on the driver, as an employer you need to check their driving licences every 6 months.
To conclude, the DVSA will not hesitate to remove drivers and vehicles from our roads. To protect your drivers and business it is important that you make your drivers aware of these changes and ensure that you are carrying out regular licence and vehicle checks.
By Angela Laycock – Wirehouse Health and Safety Advisor