Sometimes after a hard day behind the wheel, you may get home, wash your face or blow your nose and be shocked by the amount of black gunk that shows up. Or maybe your lungs feel a little heavier than usual and you’re struggling to breathe. And no, we aren’t just talking about London drivers.
You’ve been hit by the van driver’s inevitable enemy – pollution.
Incredibly, recent research from the University of Birmingham shows that London isn’t the worst offender when it comes to the black stuff. The study, which compared pollution in 146 places around England, Scotland and Wales showed that you don’t have to be in one of the bigger cities to be affected by high levels of pollution. In fact, it was Luton which was worst affected by the highest concentration of nitrogen oxide, (that’s exhaust fumes, to you and me), relative to its size, traffic and population.
London still had the overall highest levels of pollution, but thanks to so many using public transport rather than cars and vans, there was much less nitrous oxide lingering in the air, compared to the more polluted towns and cities. So for all that moaning about the congestion charge, apparently it is actually quite a good thing.
In fact, the study showed that it was the towns and cities with the densest population and the poorest public transport (where most people used cars to get from A to B), which were the most affected. Because of the smaller area than larger conurbations like London, the amount of pollution was densified and more intense than in more spread out cities with better public transport and fewer cars on the road.
Some would be expected, such as those cities around London, like Gatwick and Stevenage, but others you would expect to see, like Manchester and Birmingham, fared better than expected.
As electric vans start to become a practical solution, maybe now is the time to start considering making your next trade in a hybrid or at least a model with technology that harnesses energy more efficiently to help do your bit. Either way, it seems that the days are numbered for the old, battered, high emission vans and instead, we’re seeing the start of quiet, efficient fleets to better suit the healthier lifestyles you are all adopting too. It can pay off when it comes to your van insurance too – many insurers offer discounts or incentives to greener drivers. Fill out our super fast, low-emission form for the most competitive van insurance quotes, and see what a greener model may do for your next renewal.
Lists in full – Places where pollution was better than expected:
- Milton Keynes
- High Wycombe
Places where pollution was worse than expected:
- Leamington Spa