(Free Press Release) With such close scrutiny on pollutant emissions from road vehicles, what measures are in place to regulate emissions from non-road mobile machinery (NRMM)? Get educated, avoid scam and learn from latest news update from Fisher Capital Equipment Management Leasing.

NRMM refers to any transportable industrial equipment or vehicle with or without bodywork that is not intended to be used to carry goods or passengers on the road, in which an internal combustion engine is installed. This includes any vehicle fitted with a diesel engine and covers numerous construction vehicles and equipment such as excavators, front loaders and compressors.

Do NRMM contribute significantly to pollutant levels?

NRMM are not currently subject to as tight controls as road vehicles and investigations undertaken by the European Commission estimate that off road machinery accounts for approximately a quarter of the emissions of oxides of nitrogen and a third of PM2.5 (particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) emissions of mobile sources in 2000.
Oxides of nitrogen and particulates are the most significant pollutants emitted by diesel engines and are the two pollutants of most concern to the United Kingdom in terms of air quality. Oxides of nitrogen can have adverse effects on health, particularly among those with respiratory problems. In addition, they contribute to acidification, and to ground level ozone formation. Particulates are also damaging to health, particularly those suffering from cardiovascular and respiratory complaints.

What has been done to control these emissions?

Directive 97/68/EC was passed by the European Parliament and the Council of 16 December 1997 to approximate the laws of Member States relating to measures against the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants from internal combustion engines to be installed in non-road mobile machinery. Several amendments have been made to this directive including, 2001/63/EC, 2002/88/EC, and 2004/26/EC to include technological advancements and to extend the scope of the directive to cover agricultural and forestry tractors, small spark ignition engines, locomotives and inland waterway vessels. The directive identifies the necessity to control emissions of air pollutants that have recognised health risks such as nitrogen dioxide, particulates black smoke and other pollutants such as carbon monoxide.

How does it work?

The directive approximates laws of the Member States with regard to emission standards and has established a ''type approval' procedure for engines intended to be fitted to NRMM. Type approval is a procedure whereby a Member State certifies that an internal combustion engine 'type' or 'family' meets the minimum technical requirements specified in the directive with regards to its level of emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants. Through certification, engine 'types' or 'families' can be approved with the assumption that, as a result of similar design, the expected exhaust emissions will comply with requirements of the directive.

What does this mean for the Construction Industry?

The Mayor of London‘s 'Best Practice Guidance' already recommends minimum standards for off-road vehicles associated with increasing numbers of construction sites in London and large high profile demolition and construction sites, more commonly being asked by local planning authorities to specify exhaust emission controls for NRMM within their Construction Environmental Management plans.

In instances where the existing poor air quality exists upgrading NRMM to the latest engine 'type' or 'family', where budget allows, can not only reduce the impact construction activities have on local air quality but also have climate change benefits through efficient / clean engine technologies. As an alternative a range of exhaust after-treatment technologies is also available as a retrofit or as an original equipment option. Where upgrading to the latest technology or retrofit is not possible, other simple changes to on-site operations can be made to reduce the impact of NRMM. Such changes as using ultra low sulphur equivalent diesel and routinely maintaining/servicing an engine can hugely reduce levels of pollutants. Moreover, careful consideration of where to locate stationary construction plant equipment such as generators and cranes can also minimise the impact of exhaust emissions i.e. away from pedestrian walkways or areas where members of the public may be exposed for any length of time. A cost effective way that companies with sizeable stocks of NRMM can minimise their impacts on air quality at the most sensitive sites would be to distribute only there newest NRMM to sites with existing air quality issues.

With ever increasing pressure on the construction industry to tighten up their environmental practices, emissions from NRMM should not forgotten and through planned equipment renewal and on-site management companies can help protect the general public and employees against recognised health risks from air pollution and improve their environmental credentials.