People, Environment

Growing Support in UK for Diesel Scrappage Scheme

Diesel vehicles are responsible for almost 40% of all NO2 emissions in big UK cities.
Diesel vehicles are responsible for almost 40% of all NO2 emissions in big UK cities.

In the buildup to Wednesday's Spring Budget publication, the UK-based NGO Friends of the Earth is calling on UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme, as a poll shows almost half of car-owning Britons would be likely to switch to a cleaner vehicle with government support.

The YouGov survey of 1,740 adults found that 45% agreed they were very likely (13%) or fairly likely (32%) to change their car to a low-carbon vehicle if there was a government-backed program providing some financial assistance, reported.

Diesel vehicles are now responsible for almost 40% of all nitrogen dioxide emissions in the UK’s major cities. According to FoE, reform of the Vehicle Excise Duty in this week’s budget announcement would incentivize people to switch from polluting diesel vehicles to cleaner alternatives.

“It’s time for the chancellor to lift the fog of inaction on Britain’s filthy air with tough government measures on dirty diesel,” FoE’s air pollution campaigner, Oliver Hayes, said.

“A scrappage scheme is urgently needed to help drivers switch to less polluting vehicles–paid for by a one-off charge on new diesel cars. How many more people will die prematurely before the government takes the necessary steps to clean up this mess?"

FoE insists that a scrappage scheme targeted at the dirtiest cars, paid for by an initial £800 charge for people buying new diesel vehicles, would raise around £500 million. The scheme should also be used to encourage people to shift away from fossil fuel powered cars and into clean cars and public transport, the environmental campaign group said.

The plea follows similar calls from a range of businesses, MPs and green groups for the government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme. The UK has no choice but to rid its streets of the most polluting diesel vehicles, according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has put forward his own solution to the issue.

Under Khan’s plan, £3,500 would be paid to firms and households to switch from diesel vans and minibuses. A £2,000 credit scheme would be in place for low-income families to scrap around 130,000 cars and £1,000 payments would be offered for old diesel taxis.

Annually, an estimated 40,000 early deaths across the UK are caused by rising air pollution levels, which breached annual limits in London just five days into 2017.


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