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Future of Diesel?

On 19th April,  Neil Parish (MP) chairman of the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asked parliament to consider a diesel vehicle scrappage scheme.

The proportion of diesel cars on the roads in the UK has doubled over the past decade from 20% in 2005 to 37.8% in 2015. Whilst, following well publicised scandals, diesel’s share of new cars is starting to fall, air quality and pollution from diesel cars(nitrogen oxides and particulates) remains a significant problem in may urban areas.

The government are looking at ways to limit the impact and it has been suggested that the problem could be dealt with by;

  • Changes to VED (based on emissions of Nitrogen Oxides and particulates as well as emissions of Carbon Dioxide)
  • Move toward electric vehicles rather than promoting a shift back to petrol
  • Tightening of Euro 6 emission rules
  • More local road charges
  • A new scrappage scheme

The original UK vehicle scrappage scheme was introduced in 2009 in order to support the automotive industry during the recession. It is likely that a new scrappage scheme will be costly (it has been suggested that it is capped at £500 million), but if approved drivers of older polluting vans, taxis and cars may be paid up to £2,000 towards the purchase of new cleaner vehicles. To minimise costs any scheme may be limited to drivers on low incomes or to those living in areas suffering the worst pollution.

The new government stance may be seen as being ‘ironic’ as back in 2001 the (previous) government encouraged the sale diesel cars by reducing the excise on ultra-low sulphur diesel. At the time diesel was thought to be cleaner by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Following the snap election announcement we may have to wait for the new parliament to see whether a new scrappage scheme can be become a reality.

What do you think? 

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