Call for better air quality emissions data as Jaguar Land Rover cuts UK car production because of Brexit fears and environment tax hikes

Britain’s biggest carmaker – Jaguar Land Rover – will temporarily reduce its UK production later this year in response to weakening demand due to Brexit fears and increases in environmental taxes on diesel cars.

Jaguar Land Rover’s sales in Britain and Europe were flat in 2017 and it expects tough conditions to continue, the company’s sales director said earlier this month.

British new car registrations last year across the sector recorded their biggest drop since 2009, with the industry body blaming the diesel levy and weakening consumer confidence in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

The Halewood plant, which builds Range Rover models, is one of the Indian-owned automaker’s three production sites in Britain, which together build nearly one in three of the country’s roughly 1.7 million cars.

A company spokesman said yesterday: “Ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit is being felt by customers at home and in Europe

“Concern around the future of petrol and diesel engines – and general global economic and political uncertainty – and it’s clear to see why the industry is seeing an impact on car sales.”

Meanwhile – as debates rage about the growing threat of poor air quality to human health, scientists still lack enough of the right data to help governments accurately model and mitigate air pollution and its effects, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association.

To help policymakers make better, more informed decisions, there is an urgent need for more detailed information about the location and timing of pollutant emissions. Current data gaps are leading to large uncertainty in emission figures (of up to 50%).

Most current emission inventories only provide annual emission totals based on national estimates, and do not report spatial (location) and time trends with the precision, accuracy, and resolution needed to improve air quality models results.

Lead-author Dr Volker Matthias from Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht in Germany, said that emission reports must be updated more frequently and include more detail:

“In a world where emission patterns are changing rapidly, it is crucial to use new types of statistical and observational data to create detailed emission data sets and keep inventories up-to-date, he added.

  • The House of Lords is due to publish its report into the impact of Brexit on British energy security of supply next week.
  • Edinburgh council plans to ban all diesel-powered taxis from the capital by December 2020 – but has ignored the (much greater) emissions from trucks, buses, vans and private-motorists.

 

Reality Check: Does pollution cause 40,000 deaths a year?

 

Poor air quality is the “biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK” – thought to be linked to about 40,000 premature deaths a year – the government says.

Reality Check verdict:

The 40,000 figure for the UK stems from extensive research over decades in the US.

It’s a statistical construct – not a count of actual deaths in Britain.

23 Jan 2018

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