Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Graham Hurdle's blog: 12 May - Is data protection more important than life protection
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Graham Hurdle's blog: 12 May - Is data protection more important than life protection

Date: 12 May 2016

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

If you've been in the fleet sector as long as I have, you'll have witnessed the steady reduction in the number of gas-guzzling vehicles on our roads and will see how drivers, and businesses, are being pushed towards lower emission vehicles thanks to carrot and stick taxation.

Never before has there been a better choice of low polluting cars on our roads, and the fleet press is packed with news about electric and ultra low emission vehicles.

It could almost lead us into a false belief that we're making really good progress.

But only last April 2015, the UK's highest court ruled that the Government must take immediate action to cut air pollution.

The ruling was a significant victory for campaigners, who had begun legal action after the UK breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide in the air. Diesel vehicles are a key source of so-called NOx emissions, and NO2 is linked to a range of respiratory illnesses.

Now let's take a global perspective.

According to the World Health Organisation, the toxic fumes of growing numbers of diesel cars are combining with ammonia emissions from farming, wood and coal fires, tyre burning, open rubbish dumps, and dust from construction sites and brick kilns.

The consequence is a global crisis that threatens to overwhelm countries' economies as people succumb to heart and respiratory diseases, blood vessel conditions, strokes, lung cancers and other long-term illnesses.

According to a study led by Johannes Lelieveld, director of the Max Planck Institute for chemistry in Germany, and referenced in the Guardian newspaper last year, more people now die from air pollution than malaria and HIV combined. They include 1.4 million people a year in China and 650,000 in India. This compares with about 180,000 a year in Europe.

Makes you think doesn't it!

The harsh reality is, there remains an enormous amount to do. Most of us probably can't influence what's happening in the rest of the world, but could we get more drivers into EV and ULEVs? Could we introduce more flexible working to avoid taking to the road unnecessarily?  Could we increase the use of web-based conferencing so that we use our cars less?

The answer is certainly yes. And whilst reducing your total company mileage by 10% each year or placing more focus on ULEVs may seem like a drop in the ocean, we all need to be doing everything we can for the sake of future generations.