Felixstowe: Port moves to cut lethal diesel fumes

ACTION is being taken to cut emissions from lorries and equipment at Britain’s biggest port – with health experts now warning that diesel fumes can be deadly.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says diesel engine exhaust fumes can cause cancer and are as potentially lethal as asbestos, arsenic and mustard gas.

Suffolk Coastal has already been working to cut fumes from vehicles at the Port of Felixstowe after discovering high levels of nitrogen dioxide on the roads leading in and out of dock gate two, and nearby container parks and haulage yards.

The council’s air quality team has been monitoring the area of the Dooley Inn, Ferry Lane, and investigating – and working with the port – for two years on creating an action plan to deal with the problem.

Last week it completed a three-month public consultation on the plan and officers are now analysing the feedback to see if any alterations should be made to the proposals.

Thirteen measures were recommended for implementation, including use of automatic number plate recognition surveys to record information on movements and types of heavy goods vehicles near to the Dooley Inn; running an air quality awareness campaign targeting local businesses; and engaging with government and other UK ports to develop national policies to improve air quality at ports.

The port has already invested in new engine technology for its gantry cranes, which use 40 per cent less fuel, fitting retro-fuel saving controls to older cranes which will use 25 per cent less fuel and introducing a vehicle booking system to manage access to the port by container lorries.

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Meanwhile, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of WHO, has reclassified diesel exhausts as substances that have definite links to cancer.

Researchers say there is “compelling scientific evidence” showing the dangers of diesel fumes, which have been found to cause lung cancer and are connected with increased risk of bladder cancer, and are calling for emissions to be cut worldwide.

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