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Pollution Cameras are Watching Drivers in London and Birmingham

Pollution Cameras are Watching Drivers in London and Birmingham

During February and March this year drivers in London and Birmingham will have a new style of camera watching over them.  The Emission Detection and Reporting Device (EDAR) will be monitoring what is coming out of every vehicles exhaust pipe.

Air pollution in the UK has been linked to around 40,000 deaths every year.  We know a major source of pollution is vehicle emissions. This has led to European emissions standards being made increasingly strict, to ensure vehicle manufacturers are doing all they can to keep the air we breathe as clean as possible.

The emission detection device EDAR has been developed by an ex NASA scientist and made in the US.  The device works by shining a laser through exhaust fumes.  The differences in the reflection of light can then be used to record toxin levels.  EDAR can currently measure levels of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and nitrogen dioxide.  In the US pollution cameras are used to identify the drivers of the cleanest vehicles and rewarding them!

Here in the UK it is the first time cameras of this type have ever been used.  The trials being undertaken are funded by the Department of Transport and are being overseen by Kings College London and Leeds and Birmingham University.  The data collected from these trials will be compared to existing data from air pollution monitoring stations to assess how accurate and effective the new technology is. 

New EDAR cameras offer the opportunity to understand vehicle emissions in a real world setting, allowing areas of high pollution to be detected.  They also provide an opportunity to compare emissions figures provided by manufacturing companies to those produced on the road during normal driving conditions.

The Government are considering plans to reduce air pollution in London, Southampton, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham as well as introducing an ultra-low emissions zone for London in 2020 in an attempt to reduce pollution.  A device like EDAR may help catch those flouting emissions rules in such zones in the future or reward those in the greenest of cars.

In Birmingham a second study into air pollution is under way with a much more natural solution.  Architect Chris Rance was searching for ways to make the city greener so planted green walls of ivy along busy roads.  Scientists belonging to Staffordshire University have discovered the ivy is trapping tiny particles of pollution.  It now needs to be determined how much pollution is being removed from the air and whether this removal is permanent or not.  If the results are positive we may soon all have much greener towns and cities!

For those who are keen to reduce their impact on the environment an electric vehicle is a good place to start.  

The Nissan Leaf remains the best-selling pure electric vehicle in the UK. I found out why it is so popular in our blog 'My Life with the Nissan Leaf '  For those who have range anxiety the Mitsubishi Outlander Phev has become the most popular hybrid.  A hybrid provides a balance between reducing emissions and the safety of a regular engine so you never get stranded without charge!

How do you think air pollution should be reduced?   

The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

Car related news
8 March 2016
Written by Natalie Faughy
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