Bond End is the bit of Knaresborough where NOx (nasty oxides produced by diesel engines) go to kill people in these environs. Its officially so polluted something must be done. Actually four other pollutants including particulate matter (fine bits of soot) are also measured but NOx is the main bad guy here. There is wide agreement that Diesel engines produce most of the particulates and NOx that led to it being declared an Air QualityManagement Area. Bond End got it's badge in 2013.
Quite why it has taken 3 years for North Yorkshire County Council to come up with a plan to fix the deadly fug in this bit of Knaresborough is a mystery but now there is a plan.
They are planning to put a mini roundabout in and some of Transdevs Diesel buses are going to be less dirty, although quite what is proposed for the buses is a little unclear. There are some other proposals but they are vague.
We get no figures about the effect all of this will have on pollution levels and wether or not it will work. It all seems a bit well wishy washy.
Is this worth getting upset about?
Why I believe this plan appears flawed and what would be betterFixing the roundabout will just move the existing pollution elsewhere, traffic volumes are set to rise, this will cost a fair few quid and will be at best a temporary fix. The answer is to significantly reduce the pollution, not just kick the can down the road.
Improving the emission of the buses sounds good, although I'm unclear what is proposed here, there are two main current specs for cleaning up diesel engines. Euro 5 and Euro 6
Euro 5 basically fits a filter that sieves out the soot then halves the Nox emissions which are the real baddie.
Euro 6 uses the filter from Euro 5 and adds a urea catalyst (AdBlue) to change most of the Nox into something less deadly. This is the test that VW were cheating in the recent emissions scandal. Even when you don't cheat the test, real world Nox levels for Euro 6 vehicles are not as good as obtained in a lab, even so these Euro 6 diesels are way better on Nox than diesel vehicles made in 2000. In theory 5 times cleaner in practice maybe only 3, but still way better and they are ten times better on soot. Although some people (illegally) drive cars which have had the particulate filters taken out as they adversely effect economy, if you only use the cars as run arounds, rather than firing them up on the motorway.
So if the proposal is to up rate the buses to Euro 6 it is welcome, if it euro 5 not so much.
Electric buses however which we are using elsewhere in the district and in York, produce no emissions at point of use and if you buy your electric from a green supplier like Ecotricity, they produce virtually zero emissions in service other than a bit for maintenance and washing.
Trouble is buses are only part of the problem here, HGV's and commercial vehicles are big polluters too and both HGV and commercial vehicles tend to be older than domestic cars and so pollute more. Why not require them to meet Euro 6 standards if they want to drive though Bond End? If not make them go round the houses. Why not go further why not make all taxis in Harrogate district be Euro 6 within 3 years? Then you are not just moving the pollution down the road you are reducing the volume that is created in our town.
Oh and whilst we are at it isn't it time for a national diesel scrappage scheme to get the most polluting diesels off the road? There is bit of a problem here as diesels are reliable and generally capable of high milages and long service lives so scrapping them is wasteful, but I would argue that if we are prepared to ban smoking in pubs to prevent people being at risk of death from passive smoking.We should do the same for the pollution created by diesel vehicles.
Now these proposal will doubtless prove unpopular with some. but if you actually want to improve the air at Bond End and perhaps more importantly the town as a whole, rather than just apply some greenwash you need stop encouraging quite so many people to burn diesel here.