There are nearly 39 million motor vehicles using around 247,000 miles of road each year in the UK. A major source of air pollution, motor vehicles contribute to emissions of certain pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide. Transport accounts for 26% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions; the majority of these are from the use of petrol and diesel in road transport. Diesel engines also emit significant amounts of particulates, especially respirable particulates (PM10).

EU legislation has therefore targeted emissions from motor vehicles in order to reduce their environmental impacts. This topic describes the impacts of vehicle emissions, and the legislative controls to reduce such emissions.

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