At a time when CO2 completely dominates decisions about company vehicle choice Transport for London has provided a useful reminder that CO2 isn’t the only pollutant we should be considering when operating a fleet.

A recently announced £5million package of measures financed by the Department for Transport Clean Air Fund is specifically being focussed on achieving a 10 to 20% reduction of particulate matter (PM10). In a nutshell, particulate matter sits in the air and degrades air quality compared to carbon emissions which are a greenhouse gas which contributes directly to global warming.

Initially the fund will be used to support three main initiatives: the expansion of a dust suppressant trial where particulate matter literally sticks to the carriageway, a “no engine idling” campaign and thirdly the use of so-called “green towers” (six foot tall green planters). Alongside these measurers, TfL is introducing a maximum age for black cabs and tougher standards for the Low Emission Zone.

Now it’s great to see the use of new and innovative technology to help improve air quality but as ever in these circumstances it looks like it might be the driver who can have the biggest single impact. Engine idling generates a lot of pollution but is something we can all influence either through our own actions or through the direction we provide to our fleet drivers.

By supporting the “No Engine Idling” campaign companies can make a real difference to their fleet PM10 emissions (and not forgetting CO2) after all improving air quality delivers health benefits to all of us. However, if just doing the right thing isn’t enough for you then consider the fuel cost implications of reducing fleet idling times and I’m pretty sure you have a compelling case for action.

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