Safety is by far the top of my priority list when it comes to cycling in London, so I often forget about one of the other health issues with cycling – pollution. One of the least pleasant things about summer cycling is sitting behind a chugging diesel engine and inhaling a lungful of hot pollutants.
I remember doing some work with the DVLA a couple of years ago, and learning about the way that vehicle excise duty (VED) works. Basically, the amount that you pay yearly in “road tax” (a common misnomer) is dependent on your vehicle’s carbon dioxide emissions. But carbon dioxide is not the only pollutant – far from it. There’s also the matter of particulate emissions (in contrast to those that are gaseous). For particulates there are Euro standards for diesel engines, but I would imagine that there are enough excemptions to please the freight lobby.A natural consequence of consumers being taxed on CO2 emissions is for manufacturers to alter the design of their vehicles to reduce this one measure of pollution, but perhaps by raising one of the others.
You can look up your own vehicle’s emissions here [http://carfueldata.direct.gov.uk/search-new-or-used-cars.aspx]. I would love for there to be a low emissions zone in London. Will this happen any time soon?