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Science & Technology Series: Expert Comment

City academic calls for realistic vehicle testing

In response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, Professor of Energy Systems, Professor Keith Pullen, says the use of diesel in vehicles within cities and large built-up areas is still very harmful and appeals for Government action to tackle high emission levels.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

In his Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review delivered on 25th November, Chancellor George Osborne said the Government would continue to support the development and sale of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles. However, “in light of the slower than expected introduction of more rigorous EU emissions testing”, it would be delaying the removal of the diesel supplement from company cars until 2021.

Keith PullenCommenting on the Statement, City’s Professor of Energy Systems, Professor Keith Pullen said that while the Government has rightly incentivised consumers desiring to purchase low C02 emission vehicles (including hybrid, electric and diesel), “the use of diesel in vehicles within cities and large built-up areas is still very harmful”. Professor Pullen states further, that there is an urgent need for a real-world test cycle to replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) designed to assess the emission levels of car engines and fuel economy in passenger cars (but excludes light trucks and commercial vehicles) and which has also come under fire for delivering unachievable figures. 

Chancellor Osborne also mentioned the Government’s support for international efforts to tackle climate change and has promised a 50 percent increase in climate finance over the next five years.

While Professor Pullen is pleased with Government’s intended action in this regard, he states that in order to arrest diesel pollution in large cities, congestion charging systems should be introduced to identify diesel-powered vehicles and either tax them more heavily or ban older ones altogether:

“This process could be done very quickly in London where the problem is most acute and a congestion charge system is already in place. Residents with diesel cars should be heavily taxed to move over to less harmful petrol or even better to electric, hybrid petrol and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)”.

To speak to Professor Keith Pullen, please contact John Stevenson, Senior Communications Officer at City University London, on +44 (0)7816 597 243 or

Climate finance

Climate finance refers to local, national or transnational financing, which may be drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing. Climate finance is critical to addressing climate change because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions, notably in sectors that emit large quantities of greenhouse gases. Climate finance is equally important for adaptation, for which significant financial resources will be similarly required to allow countries to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of climate change

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