New curbs planned on car pollution

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The Independent Online

Transport Correspondent

More crackdowns on heavily-polluting cars are expected to be announced by Brian Mawhinney, the Transport Secretary, in a speech to environmental transport organisations this morning.

In an effort to show the Government's green credentials, Dr Mawhinney will reveal the results of a series of blitzes on polluting cars which began last December. The results have apparently alarmed ministers by recording very high levels of emissions from poorly-tuned cars and lorries.

Dr Mawhinney is expected to say that the Government is to consider establishing pollution targets, particularly for nitrogen oxides, in major cities. Previously, targets had been ruled out by ministers but now they will be on the agenda, though no decision has yet been taken.

The roadside checks on cars are carried out by a joint team from the police, the Vehicles Inspectorate and local authorities and Dr Mawhinney is expected to announce that the checks are to be stepped up.

Today's address is the second in a series of key-note speeches that Dr Mawhinney is using to show that he is shifting away from the emphasis on road transport that was the hallmark of the Thatcher era. So far, however, apart from cutting back on spending on roads at the instigation of the Treasury, and encouraging local traffic measures, there has been little overall change in policy.