The head of the Swiss Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communication (UVEK), Moritz Leuenberger, has proposed a nine-point action plan to reduce emissions of particulate matter (PM).
UVEK (Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation) estimates that ambient particulate pollution in Switzerland—named the biggest environmental and public health problem—is responsible for 3,700 premature deaths per year and annual extra health costs of SFr4.2 billion ($3.4 billion). In many Swiss cities, especially in winter, ambient particulate levels exceed the 24-hour PM10 limit of 50 µg/m3.
Of the nine measures, three apply to vehicles:
Develop new criteria for energy-efficient and low-emissions light duty vehicles (up to 3.5 tonnes) based on fuel consumption; PM, NOx, HC and CO2 emissions; and noise. These criteria will be a basis for purchasing and tax programs or driving bans.
Require diesel buses operated by public tranist agencies to be equipped with the best available technology for the reduction of PM emissions, beginning in 2007.
Develop more stringent emissions standards for passenger vehicles and truck engines.
Separate from this plan, Leueneberger will submit further control measures to Parliament, among them a rule mandating particulate filters on all new diesel passenger vehicles.