Last week’s poll: air pollution from diesel vehicles

Engineer readers are putting their trust in new technology as the best way to limit harmful air pollution from diesel engines

We must admit to being surprised by the strength of the response to last week’s poll: 655 readers clicked a button to let us know their opinion on this subject, and the comments section was a hive of constructive debate for much of the week. No clear majority emerged for any one option, but the largest group of respondents, 39%, thought that improved incentives for developing cleaner diesel technologies would be the best way to tackle the problem that regulators fear is damaging health, particularly in cities. Several commenters suggested filter systems and other ideas such as combustion analysis to reduce levels of particulate emissions and NOx. The second option, 20% of votes, was a scrappage scheme to encourage replacement of older, dirtier vehicles. Slightly fewer, 18%, wanted to see more realistic testing regimes for diesel engines; 11% went for the option of banning all diesel vehicles from city centres, although several commenters pointed out that this would be difficult to enforce, particularly as buses and commercial vehicles tend to run on diesel and are among the biggest contributors to the air pollution problem. The “extra tax” option of an additional “toxin charge” on top of congestion charges was the least popular option, with 4% of respondents, and 8% declined to pick one of our suggested options.

We would like to thank everybody for their contribution to the discussion, and would encourage readers to continue to send us their opinions on this subject.