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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 November 2005, 23:57 GMT
Petrol pump fumes to be targeted
Motorist refuelling
Captured fumes would be carried by pipes into pumps for reuse
Petrol fumes which escape into the atmosphere as motorists fill up at the pumps - adding to summer smog - are to be targeted in a government crackdown.

Ministers are proposing that large UK service stations should fit fume control equipment in a bid to halve current emissions from petrol stations.

Known as Petrol Recovery stage II controls, the devices would capture fumes and recycle them back into fuel.

Environment minister Ben Bradshaw said the move would aid public health.

It would improve air quality and cut smog, which is damaging to human health and vegetation.

Petrol fumes, when combined with nitrous oxide, are the biggest ingredient in summer smog in cities during calm, sunny weather.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' proposals aim to help capture 16,000 tonnes of volatile organic compounds a year from 2010 - more than half the current petrol emissions from stations.

London under smog
Emissions from fuel stations are a key ingredient of smog
Under the plans, which are being consulted on, diesel fuel would not be affected.

"Petrol fumes from service stations contribute to air pollution and lead to smog in warm weather," said Mr Bradshaw.

"Fitting the new equipment that can capture these fumes will help to cut risks to public health and the environment.

"We propose limiting the measure to larger service stations to protect the viability of small stations which are often located in rural areas.

"These rural service stations provide additional services to rural communities, such as shops and post offices."

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