Those clamouring for our streets to be rid of diesel-powered vans have been given more grist for their mill thanks to research carried out by Emissions Analytics, which claims that even some of the most recently introduced Euro6 light commercial vehicles are many times over the prescribed emissions limits – with NOx pollution in urban environments giving the greatest cause for concern.
But these findings largely result from the contrast with laboratory-based emissions tests, such as the soon-to-be-withdrawn New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which bears little relation to real-world performance.
London mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the Government to introduce a national scrappage scheme for diesels and this could succeed in removing some of the oldest and dirtiest vans from the roads.
But demonising diesel serves little purpose unless the Government puts its money where its mouth is and invests in battery technology and charging infrastructures to back up the Plug-in Van Grant, and provides funding for developing alternative-fuelled vehicles such as hybrids and hydrogen models.
Even then there is no quick fix. The UK’s LCV fleet runs on diesel, and as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is at pains to point out, these vehicles are cleaner than ever and remain critical to future progress.
This is a point the naysayers ignore – if only vans could run on hot air!