Government targets particulate and plastic pollution from cars


The government is calling on manufacturers to look for ways to reduce the particulate and plastic pollution that comes from brakes, tyres and road wear.

A new report published by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) calls for urgent action to address the problem of tyres and brakes which is predicted to account for 10 per cent of national emissions of PM 2.5 by 2030.

The government wants industry to support the development of standardised methods for measuring emissions from these sources, leading to a new international standard for tyre and brake wear.

Each time a car is driven, tiny pieces of particulate matter such as dust are released into the air from the brake wear, tyre wear and road surface wear.

These particles enter the airstream having a detrimental impact on human health for drivers, passengers and bystanders. Plastic particles from tyres are also deposited into our sewers and lead to harmful consequences to our marine wildlife and aquatic food chains.

The government has also  published a summary of responses to its call for evidence on these emission sources, which indicate that the problem is still poorly understood.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: "The documents published today make clear that it is not just fumes from car exhaust pipes that have a detrimental impact on human health but also the tiny particles that are released from their brakes and tyres.

"That is why an ambition of our Clean Air Strategy is to address all sources of particulate matter, including those from transport. Today’s research goes a long way in helping us better understand the problem.

"Emissions from car exhausts have been decreasing through development of cleaner technologies and there is now a need for the car industry to find innovative ways to address the challenges of air pollution from other sources.”