The construction and demolition sectors make use of lots of diesel-powered machinery, and there are some situations in which the exhaust fumes from this machinery become problematic.
The first is where a large scale project is taking place in close proximity to where lots of people live or work. For example, when construction activity occurs in cities in Germany or Switzerland the diesel-powered machinery used is only permitted to produce extremely low levels of harmful pollutants such as diesel particulate matter.
By demonstrating concern for the citizens those promoting big building projects are able to keep public opinion on their side.
A variation of this occurs where an area is known to already have a problem with air quality, which cannot be allowed to get much worse.
For example many parts of London already breach the levels of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide allowed under European legislation, and therefore the local authorities are obliged to take steps to manage the problem. One way of fulfilling this responsibility is to make control of exhaust fumes a condition of planning permission.
Another situation where harmful exhaust emissions need to be kept under control is where machines powered by internal combustion engines are used in confined spaces.
Examples of this include excavating basements or internal remodelling of factories and offices. Here the requirement is to look after the health of the workers involved by ensuring that toxic pollutants emitted with the exhaust gas are within permitted limits.
The pollutant of most concern in a confined space is carbon monoxide but diesel particulate matter is also unpleasant to be exposed to and has long term health effects.
(Photo: Mini excavator fitted with Diesel Particulate Filter)