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Greater Wellington to test vehicle emissions

News release 17 March 2006

Greater Wellington to test vehicle exhaust emissions

Greater Wellington kicks off a fortnight-long campaign to test thousands of vehicles' exhaust emissions with a public day at the Westpac Stadium tomorrow.

"Vehicle emissions are the region's biggest contributor to air pollution, regardless of the wind," says Greater Wellington chairman, Ian Buchanan.

Motor vehicle emissions account for 94% of nitrogen oxides, 78% of carbon monoxide and many of the fine particles in the region's air.

"Air pollution can affect people who already have health problems, making them sicker and even contributing to their deaths. The cost of health care and days off work and school adds up to millions of dollars every year.

"We are working NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) to test as many vehicles as we can to better understand how clean the emissions are from the region's vehicle fleet.

"We are already monitoring the air quality next to busy roads, such as the corner of Vivian and Victoria Streets in the centre of the city. These monitoring stations provide good information about the air quality in those areas but don't tell us which types of vehicles are responsible for most of the pollution.

"Knowing more about how many 'dirty' vehicles there are will help us clean up the region's air."

As well as testing vehicles at the stadium tomorrow, NIWA will be testing vehicles on some of the region's busier roads over the next two weeks. Vehicles do not need to stop and will drive through a piece of sophisticated testing equipment, which can take an instant reading of the emissions from the exhaust.

An electronic sign will tell the driver immediately whether the emissions are good, fair or poor. Greater Wellington will send a letter to the owners of vehicles with a poor reading, suggesting that the vehicle could benefit from being tuned.

"High exhaust emissions cost drivers money. Tuning a poorly-maintained vehicle will make it run more efficiently, and could save a considerable amount of money, as much as five cents per litre, so it's well worthwhile," Cr Buchanan says.

Greater Wellington's Be the Difference programme is running a campaign during the drive-through testing period to encourage people to keep their vehicles properly tuned. Advertising on buses, radio and in local cinemas will promote the benefits of reducing vehicle pollution. Simple tips include getting your vehicle tuned every six months, reducing the number of trips overall, taking fewer short trips, and driving more smoothly.

Testing at the Westpac Stadium is between 10 am and 4 pm on Saturday 18 March. Entry is off Aotea Quay at the traffic lights at the stadium car park entrance.

For more information about the testing and results, phone (04) 803 0363 (during office hours) or email emissions@gw.govt.nz.

ENDS

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