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Cars: Exhaust Emissions

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 28960, tabled on 7 July 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of cars on the roads that are exceeding national emissions limits.

Answered on

14 July 2021

The Government continues to work with a number of local authorities to deliver compliance with legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the shortest time possible. Local authorities are responsible for identifying the appropriate solution to achieve this, and in some areas this will require the introduction of Clean Air Zones (CAZs). CAZs are designed to encourage drivers switch to cleaner vehicles or more sustainable modes of transport. Where a CAZ is needed, Government will work with local authorities to implement the zone and will provide funding to help local businesses/drivers adapt including support to upgrade vehicles.

In addition, most cars undergo an annual MOT test, which includes a tail pipe emissions test and specific checks of all visible and identifiable emissions control equipment. Vehicles that fail to meet the required limits for the fuel type and age of the vehicle, or where emissions control equipment fitted by the manufacturer is missing, obviously modified, or defective, will fail the test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) also takes emissions control very seriously. Its Market Surveillance Unit investigates retailers and test stations to ensure that vehicles and products in the UK market meet the required standards.

In addition, the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations make various offences for using vehicles in ways that do not meet in-use standards. The potential penalties for failing to comply with these regulations are significant, with fines of up to £1,000 for a car.