EU announces legal action against UK over dieselgate

The European Commission is taking legal action against the UK over the dieselgate scandal. The Commission announced today that seven EU countries in total will face action for failing to respond to emissions cheating by top auto brands.

ClientEarth clean air lawyer Alan Andrews said: “It is embarrassment after embarrassment for the UK government on air pollution. It has lost two court cases in two years defending its inaction. It may now face a third.

“By the government’s own admission, pollution from diesel cars is one of the main reasons the UK is breaking legal air pollution limits. It has been ordered repeatedly to tackle illegal levels of NO2 pollution “as soon as possible”.

“Yet the government has inexplicably failed to take action even where the car industry has knowingly put people’s health at risk for years. This kind of deception demands a strong response by authorities – and since the government failed to provide it, the EU is stepping in.”

The Commission takes the view that the United Kingdom and Germany broke the law by refusing to disclose, when requested by the Commission, all the technical information gathered in their national investigations regarding potential nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions irregularities in cars by Volkswagen and other car manufacturers.

Alan Andrews added: “Legal action like this is not a common occurrence. It shows the Commission thinks the UK has been far too timid in taking on the car industry over this scandal. The UK government avoids taking the motoring industry to task at all costs – but the health of thousands of people is a heavy price to pay.

“Chris Grayling must get on the side of ordinary car drivers and commit to a programme of mandatory vehicle recall, compensation, random on-road testing and a clean car label based on real-world emissions. We also need fully independent regulators who are armed with the powers to investigate and issue fines when industry flouts laws designed to protect human health and the environment.”

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