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Air quality and diesel emissions in urban centres

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 14185 | 14 October 2016

Mr Geraint DAVIES, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Sahar ALQAWASMI, Palestine ; Lord Donald ANDERSON, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Sílvia Eloïsa BONET, Andorra, SOC ; Mr Joseph DEBONO GRECH, Malta, SOC ; Ms Renata DESKOSKA, ''The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'', SOC ; Lord George FOULKES, United Kingdom, SOC ; Sir Roger GALE, United Kingdom, EC ; Mr Jean-Pierre GRIN, Switzerland, ALDE ; Mr Andrej HUNKO, Germany, UEL ; Mr Carles JORDANA, Andorra, ALDE ; Ms Anne KALMARI, Finland, ALDE ; Mr Serhii KIRAL, Ukraine, EC ; Mr Ian LIDDELL-GRAINGER, United Kingdom, EC ; Baroness Doreen MASSEY, United Kingdom, SOC ; Sir Alan MEALE, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Rónán MULLEN, Ireland, EPP/CD ; Ms Judith PALLARÉS, Andorra, ALDE ; Ms Catherine QUÉRÉ, France, SOC ; Mr Paul SCULLY, United Kingdom, EC ; Mr Virendra SHARMA, United Kingdom, SOC ; Ms Petra De SUTTER, Belgium, SOC

It is estimated that 400,000 people die prematurely each year across the European Union from diesel pollution from particulates and nitrogen oxides.

Diesel cars produce 22 times more carcinogenic particulates than petrol and four times more NOx. These emissions cause lung and blood vessel damage, heart disease, stroke and diabetes, and these medical effects have been known for over 15 years.

In 2010, the annual economic cost of premature deaths from air pollution across the countries of the WHO European Region stood at US$1.431 trillion. The overall annual economic cost of health impacts and mortality from air pollution, including estimates for morbidity costs, stood at US$1.575 trillion per year.

Approximately 50% of new cars in the European Union are now diesel, up from less than 10% in 1990. Laboratory emissions testing has not reflected on-road driving conditions and some vehicles have had test-cheating devices installed;

The Parliamentary Assembly therefore calls on governments of member States to:

  • improve urban air quality by ensuring vehicle emissions-testing in reflects on-road driving conditions;
  • develop localised emissions tests and detect "cheating devices" and ban the removal of pollution-reducing devices, extend low emissions zones and pedestrianisation;
  • restrict older, more heavily polluting diesel vehicles from polluted urban centres; encourage electric tram systems and LPG, hydrogen-powered or electric buses and taxis;
  • introduce vehicle scrap-page schemes and grants for older more polluting diesel vehicles;
  • introduce taxes and use fiscal measures to encourage the use of and investment in more sustainable public and private transport.