Research

The Commissions research hub will be the most comprehensive resource for road air quality research. This research is used by working parties and members to provide evidence to help shape future policy and improve legislation.


Research Coordinator – Dr James Tate, Associate Professor, University of Leeds

Research Coordinator

Dr James Tate researches the evolution of road transport fleets and its air quality impacts. He has established himself as a leading International road transport emissions and urban air quality academic. His research innovations include pioneering the use of vehicle emissions remote sensing measurements in the UK, which helped expose the under-performance of modern diesel vehicles emission controls. He uses his knowledge and research capability to design, realise and assess the impact of Clean Air Zones, while also promoting Low Emission Vehicles. He is helping shape the UK Air Quality strategy through projects with DEFRA, DfT and Transport for London.


“The UK plans to ban sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered passenger cars by 2035, but will the rapid evolution and falling prices of battery and hydrogen fuel cell technology vehicles mean sales of internal combustion engines are a rarity long before this date? Leadership is needed to help accelerate the move away from a road transport system driven by fossil fuels to one powered by clean and sustainable technology. Along this journey, every day and every decision counts, if we are to appease the impacts to our health and climate, which we aim to track and communicate to encourage the public, policy makers and industry to take that next step.”

Dr. James Tate. Chair of the Research Working Party

Working Party Aims and Objectives

  • To investigate hard-hitting research on areas across all working parties to raise evidence-based questions in Parliament.
  • To monitor driver behaviour in the context of the pandemic: has traffic moved out of the city to rural areas?
  • To research how buses could reduce emissions to reform and clean up public transport.

The aim of this working party is to synthesise UK and International research to provide clear, compelling evidence that helps accelerate efforts to manage road traffic demand and the shift to cleaner and zero-emission vehicles, thereby improving the quality of the air we all breathe, and demonstrate the health benefits these changes bring. The objective of the group is to plug knowledge gaps that are hindering and slowing the change to shift to a cleaner, more sustainable and healthy road transport system for all.   


Topics for discussion/debate

·        Are passenger car battery Electric Vehicles (EVs) feasible, cost-effective and sustainable in 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2035? It is expected to be of paramount importance to track and forecast the evolution of battery technology as higher performance is being achieved for less cost and fewer raw materials / weight. Suggested strands of research to track and summarise: the total cost of ownership of EVs in comparison with petrol and diesel cars, critically assessing the on-road emissions of particulate matter from EV, petrol, and diesel cars, assessing the whole-life sustainability of EVs.  

·        Which have been the most effective policies in driving air quality improvements? Is it small adjustments to taxation such as the diesel company car surcharge (2017) or the roll-out of Low Emission and Clean Air Zones.

·        After a period of stagnation, UK air quality is finally improving. Are we able to demonstrate our air that is getting cleaner year-on-year is resulting in improvements in our societies’ short- and long-term health outcomes.


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