Diesel vehicles account for one third of all PM10s, which were targeted by 1997's UK Air Quality Strategy. This set a ceiling of just four days a year when particle pollution could exceed specific concentration levels but, in January, the Government raised this ceiling to 35 days in line with a European Union Directive pending completion of National Air Quality Strategy consultations.
'We are concerned that the Government has been too hasty in moving to the European standard which represents a radical reduction in the target,' said the select committee. 'It may be that four exceedances cannot be met in the short term. However, this is no reason for relaxing the standard to 35 exceedances.'