From 2004 until 2015 the vehicle emissions partnership provided free emissions testing for private cars at a variety of locations throughout the four authorities. The testing programme ran from March until October each year funded by the Scottish Government as an education service. The goal was to raise awareness of exhaust emissions and educate on the danger it posed to local residents. The testing was free of charge with action not being taken against owners of vehicles which failed the test and details were not recorded or passed to any other agencies, as this was a purely advisory service.
For the first four years of testing there was a spectacular rise in the amount of vehicles coming forward for testing which seemed to indicate that this was a valid and worthwhile service which would make a difference. Unfortunately the officer who carried out the testing took ill (and later sadly passed away) resulting in a period of time where testing did not take place. On resumption of testing it was found that a lot had changed over a short period of time and it was very difficult to get people to come forward, numbers dropped and it was decided to review the way that testing was carried out.
Edinburgh – (15th-24th March 2017) A8 at B&M store westbound
West Lothian – (25th– 31st March 2017) A89 at Station Road Broxburn westbound
North Lanarkshire (1st – 14th March 2017) A725 Coatbridge
After considerable research it was decided to pilot remote sensor testing as a possible alternative to the van based testing. Further research decided exactly what equipment would meet the needs of the testing to be carried out within the partnership area. After a lengthy process the pilot deployment of the Emissions Detecting and Reporting system was planned for the last two weeks in March 2017.
The objective for the partnership is to try and communicate with drivers of the worst polluting vehicles (of all types) to profile exactly why these vehicles have such high levels of pollution and to figure out actions to bring about a reduction in road traffic levels of pollution. The way that remote sensing works enables far greater numbers of vehicles to be tested providing lots of data to allow more detailed analysis.
The way ahead has yet to be decided for the partnership and this will depend very much on the findings of the ongoing pilot deployment and the analysis which follows. Advertising and the switch off campaign will also play a role in future activities but it will take time to consider the best balance including remote testing to attempt to achieve the greatest amount of improvement over the shortest period of time.
Transport Scotland and SEPA are supporting this pilot deployment and it is hoped that an overall more joined up approach can be taken in the future whilst ensuring any objectives set for the vehicle emissions partnership are met.
Over the period 15th March until 31st March the Partnership, along with the Scottish Government funded the pilot deployment of EDAR in Scotland. A further two weeks of testing is currently under way at one location in North Lanarkshire (1st – 14th April). More information on EDAR can be found at www.heatremotesensing.com
The main objective of this trial is to assess the possibility that the use of remote sensing testing could replace the use of van based testing completely. The long term prospect being a deployment of EDAR across the four authorities with the idea being to communicate with those driving the most polluting vehicles to establish the reasons why this is the case. There is an awareness that there are various causes for high polluting vehicles, such as mechanical problems, driving styles, fuel type and specific manufacturers but the more amount of data relating to “real world” emissions which can be collected the more accurate the final assessments can be.
The net result of all this work would be to reduce air pollution from vehicles allowing for cleaner air, especially in built up areas. This would lead to a reduction in the well-publicised threat to life expectancy and health.
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