Plans to promote electric vehicles in the UK do not go far enough to tackle air pollution, according to a leading government adviser. Writing in the Guardian, Prof Frank Kelly said fewer cars, not just cleaner ones, were the key to cleaner air.
Electric cars produce particulates from their tyres and brakes which are linked to serious health problems. Prof Kelly said that London should lead the way in promoting non-polluting transport policies.
Just last week the UK government unveiled its strategy for tackling illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The key element was a promise to end the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars from 2040. The government said there would be significant investments in ultra-low emission vehicles, with some £600m going into the development and manufacture of such vehicles by 2020.
But according to Frank Kelly, who is professor of environmental health at Kings College London, and chair of the government advisory committee on the medical effects of air pollutants, these steps would not go far enough.
“Our cities need fewer cars, not just cleaner cars,” Prof Kelly writes. “One issue is that electric vehicles will not sufficiently reduce particulate matter (PM), the other toxic pollutant emitted by road transport.