Roddy Graham's blog: 16 July 2012 - Particulately worrying
16 July 2012
Roddy Graham is commercial director of Leasedrive Group and Chairman of the ICFM.
There is no question that towns and cities will have to work hard towards achieving a zero emissions policy in the future.
Most will be hoping that their salvation will be a significant uptake in electric vehicles, greater reliance on public transport, car sharing and city car clubs. At the heart of the matter are air quality standards.
Dirty air is allegedly responsible for a 30% increase in child asthma cases, a truly alarming statistic and diesel particulates are chiefly to blame.
The air quality on our capital's roads is so bad that it is claimed that it accounts for one in five deaths per year. If the congestion does not drive you out of the city, then that statistic alone should!
The City of London faces an EU fine of £300 million for not meeting standards. So what is the blond buffoon in charge of our capital doing about it?
Rather than tackling the source of the problem, he appears to be trying to pull a bit of magic out of his box of tricks.
Believe it or not, one of the more outlandish ways London has adopted for meeting its air quality standards is to go around spraying glue on its roads to stick the pollutants to the ground!
Specially adapted gritters circulate surreptitiously at night spraying adhesive on the roads responsible for the capital's pollution hotspots. All in a bid for the capital to meet air quality targets when monitors descend. It's almost like a scene out of an old Ealing comedy!
Officially, "locations in five London boroughs benefit from innovative 'dust suppressant' technology applied on roads around construction and industrial sites as part of the Mayor's plans to deliver cleaner air for London."
The dust suppressant technology, acting like glue, literally sticks the PM10 harmful pollutant to the ground to prevent dust particles becoming airborne.
The suppressant is a biodegradable saline solution. The road surface is swept and jet washed before the solution is applied by a modified winter gritting machine equipped with a very fine sprinkler system. The glue is applied several times a week as deemed necessary in the early hours of the morning while nobody is around.
According to Transport for London, the dust suppressant technology has been successfully applied on roads in central London, including Marylebone Road and the Victoria Embankment, and showed a reduction in PM10 of up to 14%.
All this is an effort by the Mayor of London "to permanently reduce transport emissions from vans, lorries, taxis, buses and cars to ensure a cleaner city and a higher quality of life for Londoners."
It's a pity Boris Johnson does not tackle vehicle emissions at the source to permanently reduce transport pollution.
An idea for him would be to insist that all new registered black cabs are electric and that all existing black cabs are replaced with electric versions by the end of 2015.
That way, he could set an example to the good folk of London, as well as the outside world, that the capital is really getting serious about tackling air quality.
Meanwhile, until he gets tough, he's left with sticky fingers.
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