In recent years, the UK has made significant moves to reduce air pollution in our city centres. Our environmentally-friendly car cleaning and fleet cleaning services are an effective way to reduce water waste, but at this stage, serious anti-air pollution measures are absolutely essential too. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that we have just 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe, and the logical place to start is with the biggest polluters of them all – our cities.
Pollution pioneers around the world
Change is afoot in cities around the world. At the end of 2016, the mayors of Athens, Paris and Mexico City announced plans to take diesel cars and vans off their roads by 2025. In May last year, Hamburg was the first German city to ban some older diesel vehicles from two of its main arterial roads, while Oslo is working to ensure the ‘fewest possible vehicles’ travel through its city centre.
More ambitious still is Madrid, which at the end of November last year, banned all polluting vehicles from its city centre. Now, only vehicles that produce zero emissions can drive in downtown Madrid, making it a fully-fledged pollution pioneer. But what steps are we taking here in the UK?
London’s ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zone)
To its credit, the UK government has also been playing its part in reducing levels of air pollution in some of our city centres. London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone is set to come into force in April 2019 and will initially cover central London. In October 2021, the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand to cover an area bounded by the north and south circular roads.
Under the terms of the ULEZ, vehicles that don’t meet the strict exhaust emissions standards will have to pay a charge of £12.50 for every day they are used within the zone. The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day. Generally speaking, cars that are likely to fall foul of the new standards include pre-2006 petrol cars and pre-2015 diesel cars. You can go to Transport for London’s ’Check your Vehicle’ page to see if your car will be affected.
Why do we need to reduce air pollution in our city centres?
Air pollution is not only one of the biggest challenges facing the planet, but it also impacts the health of all those who live in and around our city centres. In London, road transport is the biggest source of air pollution, producing around half of the nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter in the atmosphere.
Currently, there are more than 360 primary schools in London in areas that exceed legal pollution levels. Sadly, many of the people who experience the highest levels of air pollution in London are the most vulnerable, with the toxic emissions damaging the development of children’s lungs and shortening the life expectancy of those with chronic illnesses.
Making environmental improvements is good for business
Of course, it’s not just our vehicles that are causing pollution in our cities. Businesses are also contributing not just to air pollution, but also to water waste and the pollution of water systems. The good news is that many businesses are no longer seeing improvements in sustainability as a cost they could do without. Far from it in fact. These days, improvements in environmental performance can be very good for business.
There are a number of benefits of ‘going green’ for businesses in a diverse range of sectors:
Comply with legislation – Rules include everything from responsible fleet cleaning to reducing packaging and minimising food waste. Failure to meet your legal obligations could lead to a hefty fine.
Cut costs – Using less water, energy and raw materials will improve your environmental credentials and reduce your costs.
Marketing opportunities – Demonstrating your green credentials can be a great way to market your business.
Attract and retain staff – These days, employees want to work for businesses that care about more than just profitability.
Improve stakeholder relations – Stakeholders such as suppliers, investors and regulators are all increasingly focused on a business’s environmental performance.
What can businesses do to become more environmentally-friendly?
Improving the environmental performance of your business does not need to be costly. Small, incremental changes add up to make a big difference. Everything from environmentally-friendly car cleaning to going paperless will help.
- Recycling – Many businesses can reduce their climatic footprints by introducing recycling services within their operations. That will save carbon and materials and reduce the waste sent to landfill.
- Flexible working – Letting employees work from home a few days a week will limit the number of journeys they take and reduce air pollution in city centres.
- Going paperless – Although paper can be sourced from sustainable materials, energy is still required to create and recycle paper. Getting rid of all that paper is the perfect solution.
- Install renewables – Do you have space to support solar panels or small wind turbines on your business’s site? If not, sourcing your energy from a renewable energy provider is just as good.
- Environmentally-friendly fleet cleaning – Commercial fleet cleaning can create a huge amount of water waste and produce polluting runoff that damages the environment. Environmentally-friendly car cleaning solutions are a simple and cost-effective change you can make to protect the environment.
Be part of the solution, not the pollution!
At Dropless, we provide a mobile and waterless environmentally-friendly car cleaning service. Our professional cleaners travel to London businesses on bikes and use our innovative waterless cleaning method to clean your fleet while adhering to wastewater regulations. Boost your green credentials and get in touch with Dropless today.