We need stricter MOT tests to eliminate air pollution, says campaign group


The Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality (WCRAQ) – a social enterprise – believes it is making progress with its efforts to lobby parliament, and secure a mandatory requirement for diesel filters in road vehicles, thereby cutting particulate polution.

Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, and Chairman of the WCRAQ has submitted a Ten-Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons, asking the Government to update the MOT test to include an efficiency test for DPFs (diesel particulate filters). The Bill passed the first test with no objections, and the second reading will take place on 18 March.

The Bill calls for the Government to update the MOT test to include an efficiency test for DPF filters with an emission limit set at 250,000 particles per cm3.

The UK Government needs to act, says the group. With high-tech testing equipment available at a reasonable cost, now is the time to update the MOT test. The Netherlands is introducing a DPF efficiency test to identify faulty filters that emit a high level of dangerous particulates. This legislation is coming into effect on 1 July 2022, as it is in Belgium with Germany and Switzerland following suit in January 2023 with similar MOT testing rules.

Legislation is moving in the right direction in the UK, but more must be done. In 2014 and 2018, regulations for DPFs have been updated as we uncovered more about their impact on dangerous emissions, but their effectiveness has been minimal as vehicles can typically pass the current MOT smoke test without DPFs and a visual test to check the existence of a filter is not fit for purpose.

Update the law to save lives
Introducing a stricter MOT test would identify faulty missing or tampered with diesel particulate filters and ensure that these vehicles are taken off the road and fixed, says WCRAQ. The policies and frameworks are there, and all the Government needs to do is update the law.

‘I believe air pollution is one of the greatest public health crises of our time and that good policy can help to reverse some of its distressing implications. If a DPF is faulty, a single vehicle can produce the same pollution as a three-lane, 360-mile-long traffic jam of vehicles with compliant filters. That is the distance from Huddersfield to Land’s End. Shocked? So was I,’ commented Barry Sheerman, MP.

About the Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality
The Westminster Commission for Road Air Quality (WRAQ) is a Limited by Guarantee Social Enterprise chaired by Barry Sheerman MP for Huddersfield. It was set up to research air pollution from road transport and explore solutions to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the UK while bringing this crucial issue to the attention of Parliament and the

WCRAQ consists of working parties to discuss, debate and agree on policy recommendations. These working parties provide quarterly reports for the All-Parliamentary Clean Air Group to help shape Government policies. For more information, visit www.wcraq.com.