New legislation has come into force that will see new cars face tougher Emissions tests.
The tests will see new vehicles put through both open road testing with monitoring equipment attached to the exhaust pipe and a more robust set of laboratory tests.
The new testing programme is part of a revised set of European regulations designed at improving air quality and tackling climate change. The tests will gather a more accurate set of emissions figures such as carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.
The real world part of the test has been added to Prevent Manufacturers Cheating whilst under examination.
In 2015, it emerged that the Volkswagen group had employed ‘cheat’ software that manipulated emissions tests. The German manufacturer said that up to 11 million of its vehicles had been affected, including 1.2 million in the UK.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “We welcome this challenging new regime, which will provide hard evidence that the industry’s ongoing investment in ever more advanced technology is delivering on air quality goals.
“Combined, these new and demanding tests will soon give consumers emissions performance information that is far closer to what they experience behind the wheel – and inspire greater confidence that the new cars they buy are not only the cleanest, but the most fuel efficient ever produced.”
A testing programme commissioned by the UK Government last year discovered that diesel cars emit six times more nitrogen oxide in the real world compared to lab tests.
The new tests will require car makers to slash these emissions by at least two-thirds, they will still be allowed to emit higher emissions than in the laboratory however.
Further reductions in emissions levels will be required by 2020.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “The new real-world emission tests are essential in the fight to combat toxic air and protect all our lung health.
“This will end the inconsistency between lab emissions and real-world testing and ensure manufacturers can’t cheat the test.
“It will give drivers accurate information about harmful vehicle emissions, so they can make informed choices about what to buy.”
An estimated 40,000 premature deaths a year are caused by air pollution in the UK. It is also thought to be the cause of other health problems such as childhood illnesses, heart disease and even dementia.
Earlier this year, the Government ruled that the sale of new diesel and petrol cars would be banned from 2040 onwards in a bid to tackle the increasing levels of air pollution.
It has also pledged to work with local authorities to develop diesel scrappage schemes.
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