Boris announces plans to cut construction machinery emissions by 40%
London is to become the first city in the world to introduce standards for construction machinery that limit particulate (PM10) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, thanks to new rules put in place by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
The move is set to cut emissions from machines used on sites across the capital by 40% by 2020, boosting the city's air quality.
The new requirements, which are specifically designed to target the oldest and most polluting machinery, have been laid out in the Mayor's mandatory Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG). They will be implemented by local authorities in central London from September 2015, before being tightened and applied throughout the city over the next five years.
"We've all walked past construction sites and seen thick clouds of dust generated from equipment that simply hasn't been updated or replaced in decades," Johnson explained. "By replacing the oldest and most polluting bulldozers and machinery on building sites, we can greatly reduce harmful emissions and boost our air quality."
Although occasional exemptions will be made for specialist equipment, machinery over 10 years old on all central London sites will need to replaced or retrofitted. The same rules will also apply to equipment on developments of 10 or more homes or 1,000 square feet or more in Greater London.
Tackling air pollution
Construction sites generate significant quantities of pollutant-carrying dust and the equipment used tends to be replaced less frequently than other machines with engines that produce comparable levels of emissions, such as cars. Construction and demolition activity currently accounts for up to 15% of London's air pollutants, so cutting emissions from the capital's building sites is essential if the city is to comply with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits.
Dr Claire Holman from the Institute of Air Quality Management said that the new standards represented "an important step in reducing emissions from demolition and construction sites that are both annoying and damaging to human health."
The measures are part of a larger programme of changes being implemented in order to improve air quality in the city. In 2013, Boris Johnson unveiled plans to transform central London into the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2020.
Last month, he expanded on this, revealing that, from 2020, London's diesel car drivers would be charged an additional £10 on top of the existing congestion charge to drive into the centre of the city.