More evidence is continuing to emerge about the health effects of pollutants from road traffic. Well respected bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), and in the UK the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP) and Public Health England (PHE) have expressed increasing concerns about the full effects on health and wellbeing.
A key aim of ECO Stars when it was launched in 2008 was to engage with businesses- whose fuel use was significantly greater than the average motorist – to reduce emissions through effective fuel management, thus ensuring the absolute minimum of fuel is burnt and hence reduction in emissions.
Soon after ECO Stars was launched in 2008 a detailed fleet evaluation of two South Yorkshire scheme members showed significant reductions in vehicle emissions after fleet operators who joined the scheme. Importantly, reductions following an independent evaluation found reductions in Cancer genic particulates and nitrogen oxides emissions.
The impact of proactive fleet renewal can have a significant impact on reducing levels of toxic emissions within a relatively short time scale. Since then further fleet renewals in conjunction with continual improvement in management process, such as driver skills and fuel monitoring has seen even further reductions in emissions. Consequently the scheme has a major role to play in improving public health of residents in particularly in areas close main roads into our towns and cities.
ECO Stars continues to encourage and support operators to make changes to their fleet composition and operational practices which in turn leads to the improvements in vehicle emissions. It is recognised that the improvements cannot be claimed to be entirely due to ECO Stars membership, however they do make a significant contribution to managing emissions from commercial vehicles.
More recently a qualitative and quantitative evaluation tool has been in development, enabling further quantification of the environmental and air quality benefits of the scheme.