Diesel smoke is a major source of air pollution in urban areas. Diesel engines emit a complex mixture of air pollutants, including both gases and solids. The solid material is known as particulate matter and it is visible.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 contain the standards for motor vehicles, including standards for exhaust emissions and controls on visible smoke.
You can report commercial vehicles (lorries (HGVs) and buses (PSVs)) producing excessive smoke emissions to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Only the police, and in certain circumstances officers from the DVSA, can stop moving vehicles on a road.
To make a report you will need the following information:
type of vehicle
operator's name (if visible)
the name and/or number of the road where you saw the HGV or PSV
the date and time when you saw the HGV or PSV
DVSA will contact the owner of the vehicle requiring it to be checked and to have any fault or maintenance problem rectified. The vehicle may be called in for checking at the nearest DVSA Goods Vehicle Testing Station.
It is normal for diesel engines to give off a little smoke when starting from cold and also when accelerating. Please only report vehicles to the DVSA that are producing large amounts of smoke continuously.
Please note that you cannot make a report to DVSA about light vans, cars or taxis.
If you are concerned about emissions from a local taxi, please report it:
Telephone 0191 278 3864
Newcastle licensed taxis have red licence plates and licensed private hire vehicles have green plates. Please provide us with the vehicle registration and details from the licence plate.