Air pollution is a key environmental issue that is not only restricted to densely populated cities like Beijing or Delhi but is spreading its wings into many European nations as well, like Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK. The issue has posed multiple challenges in terms of management and mitigation of harmful pollutants.
Studies found that 85 percent of people living in urban areas are exposed to fine particulate matter at harmful levels. According to the recent air quality report from the European Environment Agency, air pollution causes 467,000 premature deaths across the continent annually. In addition, studies have shown that air pollution increases the incidence of a wide range of diseases (e.g. respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and cancer), with both short- and long-term health effects.
To deal with this problem, European cities have undertaken a variety of initiatives. EU air pollution legislation has followed a twin-track approach of implementing both air quality standards, including an exposure reduction target for particulate matter, and emission mitigation controls.
Franz Jenowein, JLL’s Director of Global Sustainability Research, believes each city is different with its own constellation of geographic, meteorological and industrial conditions, and solutions are similarly varied.
Putting the brakes on vehicular pollution
“We’re seeing schemes such as car-free zones, preferential treatment for electric vehicles, and pruning high-emitting vehicles from the road,” Jenowein said.
London, for example, is planning the world’s first Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which will initially cover the existing congestion charge zone. Slated for roll-out in 2019, the ULEZ will apply to petrol cars below Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles below Euro 6 standards, with a daily fee starting at £12.50 for cars and going up to £100 for buses and HGVs.
Though difficult to implement, measures to curb vehicular pollution can yield unexpected benefits. … Read More