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22% of Cars May Be Producing Dangerous Excess Emissions

According to new Emissions Analytics research, approximately  22% of vehicles travelling the roads of the United Kingdom emit excessive levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx). The research revealed that every year, more or less 17,000 tonnes of NOx are released into the air. Of this number, 89% was emitted by 2009 to 2014 Euro 5 and 6 diesel vehicles. Regular emissions from cars regulated under Euro 5 and 6 are typically at 9,500 tonnes.

Before the Dieselgate scandal broke in the United States in 2015, diesel vehicles were preferred by more consumers because they were believed to be the environmentally safer and cleaner choice. Manufacturers marketed their diesel cars as better options than petrol vehicles because they had lower levels of carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions scandal that initially involved only Volkswagen significantly changed the way people looked at diesel vehicles.

Volkswagen was found to have installed defeat devices into their vehicles, which was why they reflected low NOx emissions. The cheat software is designed to detect lab tests so it can automatically lower emissions to legal – or below legal – limits. The device will reflect that the vehicle follows regulations and does not pose any threats to the car owners and the environment. In reality, when these vehicles are  driven on the road in real-world conditions, the NOx levels are extremely high.

The risks that come with using defeat devices is what constantly drives law firms and the car owners they represent to ask the government to strictly implement regulations on car manufacturers. As mentioned, the Dieselgate scandal involved Volkswagen, but the German manufacturer is not the only car brand alleged to have used the defeat devices. 

Other car manufacturers in the diesel emission scandal

As VW started dealing with the repercussions of using cheat software in their cars, the emissions scandal blew into bigger proportions. It moved from the U.S. to Europe and the UK, and more and more manufacturers were implicated in the scam. 

The Mercedes emissions scandal made headlines in February 2016 when owners of Mercedes-Benz diesel cars filed a class-action lawsuit against the carmaker. The legal action was in relation to suspicions that Mercedes fitted its vehicles with defeat devices. This started a chain of events that eventually led to the carmaker recalling their vehicles and paying various fines.

Other car manufacturers were and continue to be in the spotlight because of defeat devices include BMX, Ford, Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo, Renault, Suzuki, Jeep, Nissan, Citroën, Fiat, and Peugeot. Jaguar Land Rover may soon join the list as one of the law firms helping the over 40,000 affected car owners revealed that thousands upon thousands of Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles have defeat devices in them. 

Why are excess emissions dangerous?

Twenty-two per cent may be a small number for some, but when it comes to emissions, every number is big. Whether it’s 50% or 70%, vehicles that emit nitrogen oxides or NOx at high levels are a danger to the environment and to human health. 

NOx is a pollutant that contains nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are responsible for the formation of acid rain and smog. NOx also produces ground-level (tropospheric) ozone. Unlike stratospheric ozone that blocks ultraviolet rays from the sun, tropospheric ozone destroys the environment and has adverse effects on human health, such as throat irritation, breathing problems, chest pain, congestion, coughing, and worsened asthma and emphysema. 

Exposure to nitrogen oxides also exposes humans and the environment to particulate matter, specifically PM2.5. These fine particles can easily get into the lungs, which can lead to health issues like shortness of breath, sneezing, runny nose, coughing, and throat, nose, and eye irritation. In severe cases, PM2.5 can cause serious medical problems to those who already have heart disease and asthma. Long-term, regular exposure to PM2.5 affects lung function, chronic bronchitis, and increased hospital admissions and mortality. 

NOx also has damaging effects on ecosystems and vegetation. Plant growth is reduced and tree seedlings, commercial forest yields, and agricultural crops are exposed to pests and diseases.  

Nitrogen oxides’ health and environmental risks are the biggest reasons why law firms, environmental organisations, and car owners are urging the government to come up with stricter measures against car manufacturers using defeat devices.

How you can help lower excess emissions

If you think your vehicle is affected by the Dieselgate scandal, the first thing you should do is verify this with your manufacturer. Once confirmed that it’s fitted with a defeat device, find a team of experts who can help you file an emission compensation claim. The law gives you the right to claim compensation for what the car manufacturers put you through. 

Whether you need a Volkswagen or Mercedes diesel emissions claim, or whatever your car brand is, working with trained and experienced emissions experts will help you get through the challenging and tedious process. The team at Emissions.co.uk, for example, are dedicated to helping you every step of the way. Best of all, they offer a no-win, no-fee agreement.

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