An independent advisory committee to the UK Department of Health has found no compelling evidence that exposure to tyre and road wear particles poses a health risk at current UK concentrations. Based on a review of present scientific knowledge, the updated position statement recently published by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) extends to all non-exhaust particles from road transport, including brake wear and road surface particulates.
The Tyre Collective – winners of the James Dyson Awards 2020 – have designed a device to capture tyre particulate at source. According to the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ “Air Quality: Brake, Tyre and Road Surface Wear” report, tyre-wear accounts for nearly half of road transport particulate emissions. Furthermore, a reported half a million tonnes of tyre particles are produced annually in Europe alone, from vehicles accelerating, braking and cornering. As we move towards electric vehicles in the future, exhaust emissions will reduce but tyre particles will continue. The Tyre Collective estimate that tyre emissions may even increase, as electric vehicles become heavier due to the added battery weight. For both reasons, this year’s UK national James Dyson Award winners attempt to address this issue.
Studies show the tyre/road abrasion caused by vehicles in motion contributes to microplastic and fine dust pollution, making this an issue our industry will increasingly have to consider in future. ZF Test Systems believes its new unit for testing tyre abrasion will enable tyre manufacturers to optimise their development programmes and offer cleaner tyres.
One effect of regulatory-driven decreases in vehicle emissions is that other kinds of pollution become comparatively higher. The contribution of tyres to overall transportation pollution has been scrutinised on a number of occasions, and opinions on the matter vary. Emissions Analytics now brings the issue of tyre pollution back to the table, flagging up that they’re much more polluting than car exhausts.
Particulate and plastic pollution from brakes, tyres and road wear are in the spotlight again. The Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) released a new report today that highlights the impact of this pollution, and the UK Government reports that Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey and Transport Minister Michael Ellis are “leading a push” to tackle its impact. The aim is for the introduction of an international standard that covers tyre and brake wear.
According to a new report undertaken by Eunomia Research and Consulting for Friends of the Earth, up to 19,000 tonnes of microplastic pollution could be entering UK waterways every year from vehicle tyres. The report, titled Reducing Household Contributions to Marine Plastic Pollution, listed tyres in its ‘top ten’ list of items of concern, commenting that interventions and innovation, as well as governmental, business and scientific collaboration, may be required over the coming five years to solve the issue.