UKLPG, the trade association for the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry, has welcomed the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s (EFRA) inclusion of LPG as part of a range of alternative fuel options described in its report on Air Quality.

The Committee’s report calls for new clean air zones in dozens of English towns and cities to cut the risk of cardiac, respiratory and other diseases caused by polluted air and aims to prevent up to 50,000 people a year from dying early from air-pollution-related illnesses.

Rob Shuttleworth, chief executive of UKLPG, commented: “LPG has been recognised as a low-emission vehicle fuel for decades and its great performance against fuels such as diesel are well-documented. Converting vehicles, especially those heavily used in inner cities such as taxis and vans, can be done quickly to deliver lower levels of tailpipe (nitrous oxide) NOx emissions compared to petrol or diesel.

“Evidence of the vital role that LPG can play in improving air quality has been growing year-on-year and we are pleased that the committee has recognised this in its findings. Government policy supports a range of technologies and it is appropriate to include LPG among the options available, especially for vehicles that cover large distances. Our members are already working with fleet owners and taxi drivers in a number of cities, in initiatives to convert their vehicles to LPG and help improve urban air quality. Lower fuel duty rates make this commercially attractive to the taxi drivers as well.”

The supply infrastructure is in place in the UK, with around 150,000 motorists having already converted their vehicles to take advantage of a network of more than 1,400 refuelling points. This is helping to cut pollution in our inner cities and contributing towards the UK’s carbon reduction targets.

The Committee is calling on the government to devolve greater flexibility to all councils to increase their powers in tackling vehicle pollution in and out of clean air zones.