Air pollution is a bigger global killer than smoking. In the UK and other parts of the world, it affects health and cuts lives short. The UK economy incurs over £20 billion yearly because of it. Thankfully, the government is doing their part in mitigating the problem.
A new Environment Act is in the works, and it aims to have environmental standards maintained and enhanced. However, since the UK has already left the European Union, more stringent measures and legislation may be required than what’s proposed in the draft bill.
And of course, the businesses in industries that generate the most pollution should also do their part. If you’ve just opened a startup that also deals with fleet, fuel, and other air pollutants, one of the things you can benefit from is an innovative fuel management system. This lets you keep track of your fuel costs, enabling you to implement measures to reduce them, which will help you save the environment as well.
That said, let’s see the current situation of air pollution in the UK, and what your small business can do to make a positive change.
A Drop in Air Pollution
If there is one blessing the coronavirus has given, it’s the decline of air pollution across UK’s major cities. The lockdowns decreased the level of toxic pollutants, and will continue to do so as long as the roads are rid of traffic. However, westerly winds from the Atlantic has to return, because the easterly winds that are currently circulating are bringing more pollutants.
London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, Manchester, and York and Belfast had substantial pollution declines since the lockdowns, while Glassgow and Newcastle showed smaller reductions.
Other nations in the world, including Italy and China, are also seen to have air quality improvements. This brings hope to everyone infected by the virus, because cleaner air may reduce COVID-19’s death rate.
According to Prof. James Lee at York University and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, the air is much healthier now, and he thinks that we will see a more evident pollution decline when the weather changes.
The less polluted air, however, isn’t a silver lining of the pandemic. It merely shows that a lot of positive changes can occur if we stop traveling.
How to Reduce Your Fuel Usage and Costs
Now that the economy is slowly moving again, your fleet operations have probably returned as well. To ensure that you’re using fuel efficiently, determine firsthand if there are air quality problems in your area. If so, your local council can implement additional controls on emissions.
When the air quality in a certain area falls below standards, the council in-charge will declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and propose improvements. Your location may be an AQMA if you’re affected by road charging, parking restrictions, added restrictions on waiting and loading times, taxes to encourage rail-transported goods, and the review of planning applications by a pollution control personnel.
In addition, a smoke control area may be declared. This will require you to use only authorized fuels, or exempted furnaces and boilers. Chimney smoke will be prohibited, with limited exceptions.
For your part, ensure that your fleet is regularly undergoing preventive maintenance. Minor services like changing air filters can already improve your gas mileage by up to 10%, and prevent contaminants from building up in the engine that forcibly increase your fuel consumption.
When filling you tank, choose the petrol with the lowest octane level compatible with your auto. And most importantly, be sure to follow all regulations regarding smoke and pollution control. Non-compliance can get you fined up to £1,000 per offense. This of course damages the reputation of your business, and makes you a bigger part of the problem rather than the solution.