NICE urges NHS and local authorities to switch to EVs

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced draft guidance, recommending that public sector organisations replace high polluting vehicles with low-emission ones to improve air quality.

Regarding the services they commission, local authorities and NHS organisations should also identify how they will reduce emissions from their vehicle fleets to improve air quality.

The recommendations are made in new draft quality standard guidance from NICE on Air Pollution: outdoor air quality and health.

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It has been estimated in a study by Oxford University and the University of Bath that total air pollution from cars and vans costs the UK £5.9 billion a year to health, almost £1 billion of this cost can be attributed to treatment costs from hospital admissions and treatment of related illnesses.

The public sector fleet is substantial and includes various vehicle types, some of which are highly polluting. When replacing vehicles in their fleet, organisations should consider low-emission car, vans and lorries.

Training drivers in techniques such as smooth acceleration and braking, not over-revving the engine, efficient gear changing, no idling when parked or making a delivery and ensuring tyres are inflated to the correct level can help to improve fuel efficiency and cut emissions.

Other recommendations include giving advice to people in vulnerable groups attending a health appointment - when air pollution is high or very high - on how to minimise their exposure and manage their symptoms.

Planners should identify in their local plan and other key strategies how they will address air pollution, including enabling zero and low-emission travel and how to design buildings and spaces to improve air quality.

Applications for major developments should be scrutinised by local planners to minimise and mitigate road-traffic-related air pollution.

A consultation has opened on these draft guidelines and it will close on October 9, 2018.