Letters to the Government

The Westminster Commission has submitted several letters to senior members of the Government in support of our objectives. You can read the letters and their respective responses here.

Grant Shapps – lowering tyre pollution

On 23, 2022 WCRAQ Chairman Barry Sheerman wrote a letter to Grant Shapps, Secretary of Transport, asking for a limit on the levels of toxic chemicals in tyres. The chemicals that come off tyres due to wear and tear are responsible for vast amounts of air pollution. Recent Emission Analytics tests revealed that hundreds of chemicals, many carcinogenic, are released. Read the full story here. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/03/car-tyres-produce-more-particle-pollution-than-exhausts-tests-show

With vehicles growing increasingly heavier, tyre emissions will only increase. We need an open dialogue with tyre manufacturers and the Government to start using higher quality components in tyres. Read the letter below.

Rishi Sunak – lowering HVO duty
On February 8 2021, we submitted a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ask him to reduce the rebate on Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO), as biodiesel. HVO can reduce carbon emissions by 90 per cent in HGVs and reductions by 19 per cent in NO2 and 85 per cent in total particulate matter. HVO pump price is higher than diesel, which could be a barrier to its widespread adoption. Realigning duty on diesel and HVO could positively impact the adoption of HVO and, ultimately, emissions.
Rishi Sunak has so far not responded. We are continuing our efforts to engage with him on this matter. Read the letter here.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton – Stricter MOT tests

On January 11, 2021, we submitted a letter to Baroness de Vere of Norbiton, Minister for Roads, Buses and Places, about the efficacy of MOT testing and harmful emissions.
Baroness de Vere replied on March 30 2021, saying that current MOT testing will already identify engine failures and that vehicles with missing or faulty DPFs will not pass the MOT and will be taken off the road.
She also referred to unpublished research conducted by DfT, which the Government would consider making MOT testing stricter. The study has not yet been published, and WCRAQ is enquiring with the Government into the reasons why publication is still held back.

Read the letter from Baroness de Vere here.

Rachel Maclean – adopting stricter MOT testing procedures by measuring particulates at tailpipe

On March 23 2021, we submitted a letter to Under Secretary of State for Transport Rachel MacLean, about the high emissions caused by missing or faulty diesel particulate filters. We called for stricter MOT Testing.
Rachel responded on April 21 2021. She was pointing out that the Government already has strict measures in place for MOT testing, which was sufficient in the opinion of the Department of Transport. She then highlighted several other government efforts, such as implementing Ultra Low Emissions Zones in large cities and the pashing out of diesel vehicles by 2030.
She also cited a yet unpublished study the Government had conducted on stricter MOT testing procedures. We have probed DfT on why this study has remained unpublished and has had no conclusive answer.
We contested her reply on May 29, 2021.
‘According to several studies, 9-15% of vehicles required to have DPFs fitted would fail their MOT if the Government introduced more sensitive technologies and more stringent testing limits. The failure rate depends on the limits set between 250,000 and one million particles per cm3 and highlights the extent of the problem we are facing.’
Read the response letter here.

Rachel Maclean – Final response

On June 28, we received a final response from Rachel stating: ‘The Department is aware that some European countries have introduced different testing methods. The Government is committed to addressing air pollution, and the research undertaken by the Department into the possibility of using new measurement equipment will inform any decisions about possible changes to the MOT test.
‘There are already strict requirements which vehicles must meet in order to pass the MOT test. Again, this includes specific checks for the proper functioning of DPFs and other exhaust emission control equipment.
There are also significant penalties where a vehicle has been modified so that it no longer complies with the emissions standards that it was designed to meet.’

Read the full letter here.