Almost half of British public would support diesel scrappage scheme, research finds

In the build-up to Wednesday's Spring Budget, Friends of the Earth (FoE) is calling for Chancellor Philip Hammond to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme, as a poll shows that almost half of car-owning UK adults 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 programme providing some financial assistance.

Diesel vehicles are now responsible for almost 40% of all NO2 emissions in the UK’s major cities. According to FoE, reform of the Vehicle Excise Duty in this week’s Budget would incentivise 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?”

Deal in the offing?

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 £500m. 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.

The Department for Transport (Dft) is said to be working with Defra on a scheme which will offer cashback or a discount for people to scrap old diesel vehicles in exchange for low-emission models. Discussions are understood to have taken place with the Treasury about the possibility of a pilot scheme in areas of the UK with the worst pollution, before a nationwide rollout.

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.

The Low-Carbon Vehicle Zone at edie Live 2017

The adoption of low-carbon vehicles for company cars and distribution fleets is gaining momentum which the edie Live 2017 exhibition is going to be housing a brand new Low-Carbon Vehicle Zone.

The Low-Carbon Vehicle Zone will showcase some of the latest technologies and solutions from an array of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers throughout the two days of edie Live 2017 at the NEW Birmingham on 23-24 May. 

Find out more about edie Live 2017 and get your free two-day pass here.

George Ogleby

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