MotorCheck joins the AIR Alliance with fast-track data solution for Clean Air Zones

Gaps in DVLA data can be fixed and CAZs implemented without further delay

16 July 2020 – The air quality improvements experienced during lockdown can be sustained if the much-delayed Clean Air Zones (CAZs) are introduced swiftly using accurate vehicle emissions data.

MotorCheck, the latest organisation to join the AIR Alliance (AIR), has already developed a data solution connecting individual vehicle registrations with the homologated emissions data and the AIR Index ratings to provide a unique solution that enables the fair and effective implementation of CAZs.

Clean Air Zones should be operating across the UK now, but their introduction has been delayed with a range of reasons being cited by different stakeholders. Assuming that the government is not trying to delay CAZ implementation into 2021 in order to avoid their implementation completely, the recurring theme that justifies the current delay is the uncertainty about the accuracy of the DVLA vehicle data required to implement effective CAZs.

AIR is committed to finding practical solutions to address the challenges of air quality and climate change and through its network of like-minded organisations has engaged with MotorCheck to un-lock the data issue.      

In correspondence with the Secretary of State of Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Freedom of Information requests and through detailed analysis of data by MotorCheck, AIR has confirmed that gaps do exist in the DVLA data with Euro stage information missing for some vehicle registrations.

The consequence of these data gaps, when tested by entering vehicle registrations through the government’s online CAZ emissions checker, confirms that there would be un-restricted access for many diesel Euro 5 vehicles, which should otherwise be controlled. The Euro 5 diesels tested by AIR in this category produce extremely high levels of NOx emissions, up to 1,000 mg/km and more, yet they are being judged to be Euro 6 diesels with an official limit of 80 mg/km.

The government acknowledged this issue to AIR in a letter from Rt Hon George Eustace, Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, and confirmed that they are attempting to complete the data set and achieve a start date in 2021.  

AIR believes that there is no need for further delay, since MotorCheck has already developed a look-up solution, available now and already offered to the government, that would use accurate data to enable effective Clean Air Zones.

Nick Molden, Co-founder of AIR said: “The AIR Alliance provides independent, trusted and practical solutions to address the consequences of harmful vehicle emissions. In partnership with MotorCheck, the latest organisation to join the AIR Alliance, we have a ready-made solution to the longstanding issue of data accuracy that has caused delay to the introduction of Clean Air Zones.

“The residents of towns and cities where air quality has been in breach of legal limits for more than a decade do not need to wait any longer. In a case brought by ClientEarth, the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that NOx needs to be brought into compliance as soon as possible and with money being no object. The AIR Alliance believes that further delay can be avoided by using the solution from data experts MotorCheck which is available immediately .”

Shane Teskey Founder of MotorCheck said: MotorCheck is proud to join the AIR Alliance and bring our experience managing multiple automotive data sources to deliver a practical and effective solution to unlock the repeated delays to the launch of Clean Air Zones.

“Our analysis reveals that the database beneath the current CAZ emissions checker is unable to access the true emissions status of all vehicles, and in some cases is giving vehicles ‘the benefit of the doubt’ without being certain they are Euro 6 compliant.

“We would welcome the opportunity to integrate our emissions data solution which is available to provide a fast-track route to opening Clean Air Zones immediately.”  

AIR is an open alliance of like-minded members. Any organisation, public or private, that shares its values and manifesto is encouraged to join. Leading scientists have recognised the importance of the AIR Index and urge vehicle makers to utilise their ratings in order to build cleaner vehicles.


Notes to editors:

AIR carries out an ongoing programme of vehicle testing, and results are added to the AIR Index periodically.

Inspiration for the AIR Index was NCAP, the independent vehicle-safety rating system developed in the US in the 1970s that became the industry standard in the EU and around the world. The programme held car makers accountable for their safety performance, resulting in a voluntary adoption of technologies that led to safer vehicles.

AIR tests at least two different cars or vans of each model, sold and on the road, sourced independently from the vehicle makers in a scientifically robust programme of on-road trips which lead to an emissions rating in the AIR Index.

The rating of each vehicle uses the latest methodology CWA 17379 developed at European level to fairly compare the emissions performance of different vehicles using portable emissions monitoring systems (PEMS) to ensure that the technology provides trusted data on emissions that is transparent and available to everyone.

The AIR Index ratings for urban NOx and CO2 are colour-coded as follows:

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We provide practical solutions, including the AIR Index vehicle ratings, to ensure that independent, scientifically robust data are available to inform discussions and policy decisions which can help reduce the impact of harmful vehicle emissions. We are guided by a committee of the world's leading emissions and air quality experts who give their time and expertise to support our common goal of improving air quality and tackling the climate crisis. The AIR Index ratings and our expertise are used by public authorities and organisations across Europe to inform policy decisions. The AIR Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation and we fund our own testing and scientific programmes to provide AIR Index ratings free of charge. Please would you consider making a donation to support our work?

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