'Just one faulty diesel filter can spread deadly poison’, says MP

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Faulty filters on diesel vehicles can cause the same amount of air pollution as a three-lane, 360-mile traffic jam, an MP arguing for an overhaul of the MOT has stated.

Diesel particulate filter, or DPF, captures and stores dangerous emissions. It can be found at the back of a diesel exhaust system and can reduce emissions from a vehicle by around 80 per cent.

However, faulty DPFs are not getting picked in the current MOT testing regime, says Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield, despite the known ill health impacts of breathing in particulates.

“In some instances, a faulty DPF is responsible for the same amount of pollution as a three-lane, 360-mile traffic jam. That is the distance between my constituency of Huddersfield and Land’s End in Cornwall. That truly terrifying fact must spur us on to identify and remove dangerous faulty filters,” he said at a recent Parliamentary debate, adding: “Just one faulty filter in one car can spread that amount of poison.”

Photograph: iStock

The Motor Vehicle Tests (Diesel Particulate Filters) Bill, put forward by Sheerman, is due for its Second Reading on 24 March.

Diesel exhaust is a complex mixture comprised of gases and particulate matter, some of which are carcinogenic. Exposure increases risk of lung cancer. Impacts can also affect the heart and brain and vulnerable groups include outdoor workers and young people. New research from Kings College London found that long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – a pollutant from diesel traffic – is linked with higher blood pressure in teenagers living in London.

“Air pollution is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. As we speak, in this place and beyond, people are being poisoned by filthy, unsafe air,” said Sheerman.

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