Should the government introduce a diesel scrappage scheme? 0


In the wake of the highly-publicised Volkswagen emissions scandal, MPs say the UK government should introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to help tackle the NOx (NO2) pollution problem. The Environmental Audit Committee has devised the plan, hoping it will be brought up at Wednesday’s Autumn Statement.

A scrappage scheme similar to the proposed one has worked before. In 2009 the government introduced a £2,000 scheme to help out car manufacturers during the recession. Drivers got money off a new vehicle and the car industry was reinvigorated, but critics did warn that producing new cars didn’t necessarily help the pollution problems.

On top of the proposed scrappage scheme, the ECA also believe restructuring of car tax rules will encourage buyers to opt for greener vehicles. It’s no secret anymore that both CO2 and NO2 emissions are harming our environment and our health. The government put in place car tax rules based on CO2 emissions because that was the main issue, but the NOx levels in some areas of our country are extremely worrying. Nitrogen oxide emissions have been proven to be harmful to human health, yet the focus still remains on carbon dioxide.

Huw Irranca-Davies MP, chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “Tens of thousands of premature deaths are being caused in the UK every year by illegal levels of air pollution on our roads. Despite mounting evidence of the damage diesel fumes do to human health, changes to Vehicle Exercise Duty announced in this year’s Budget maintained the focus only on CO2 emissions. This was a missed opportunity to also incentivise vehicles which emit less NO2.

“The Treasury must use VED to create long-term incentives for drivers to buy cleaner hybrid and electric cars that minimise both CO2 and harmful pollutants. Introducing a national diesel scrappage scheme could also provide a short-cut to cleaning up the air in our cities.”

Mr Irranca-Davies also commented that the only way cleaning up the air would work, is if the government enforced the same rules for clean air zones nationwide, rather than allowing local areas to grant the power. “It will be important to avoid sending out conflicting signals to drivers across the country. The Government needs to bear this in mind when devising the clean air zones framework.”



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