Emergency Services

Diesel is an essential partner for delivering a wide array of city services including ensuring vital routine and emergency services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Over 98 percent of first responder vehicles, including fire trucks, ambulances, and other rescue equipment, are powered by diesel.

The NHS is a significant contributor to the UK's greenhouse gases and environmental pollution

With health costs resulting from exposure to air pollution totalling more than £20 billion and contributing to approximately 40 000 deaths per year (Royal College of Physicians, 2016), the NHS has developed environmental targets to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (Health Business UK, 2017). The UK Government intends to ban the sale of petrol and diesel engines by 2040 (Lord Carter of Coles, 2018).

The UK government estimates that particulates—a type of pollution—reduce life expectancy in the UK by around 6 months in areas of low air quality, costing around £16 billion a year (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2015). The main pollutants from petrol, diesel and fossil fuel engines are carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), unburnt hydrocarbons and particulate matter (Vehicle Certification Agency, 2017). Particulate matter (PM) affects those suffering from pre-existing respiratory conditions in particular and has been recognised as a contributing factor to 29 000 deaths per year in the UK (Vehicle Certification Agency, 2017).

Diesel was classified as a carcinogenic fuel by the WHO (World Health Organisation) in the 1980s. As an ambulance service and health organisation, we should be moving away from diesel to low and zero emission vehicles to protect our patients and our staff. Over 40,000 people’s early deaths a year can be attributed in part to the poor air quality of the UK. Poor air quality is mainly from vehicular emissions and the particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) that internal combustion engines (diesel/petrol) produce. 

At a point in the future, we will be able to remove the diesel bunkered fuel located on our sites as well as all the associated delivery infrastructure (interceptors, pipework, diesel
delivery) therefore mitigating any litigation and contamination issues. This will not however be in the lifespan of this Strategy.

(Source: Yorkshire Ambulance Service’s Green Plan 2020 - 2025)