Government must deal with diesel cars issue

The UK Government must deal with pollution from diesel cars and introduce a national network of clean air zones, ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews told a Commons Select Committee today.

Giving evidence to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee in Parliament this afternoon, the ClientEarth lawyer told MPs the recent High Court ruling on air pollution has put pressure on central government, and also the Mayor of London, to take action to tackle pollution from diesel cars.

He said ClientEarth was not calling for a blanket ban on diesel cars, as this oversimplified the issue. However, he highlighted the fact that the government could not rely on diesel cars meeting legal pollution limits on the road as all the evidence showed that they were failing to do this.

“We need a range of measures to disincentivise diesel, including a scrappage scheme and changes to vehicle exise duty,” said Andrews.

ClientEarth won a High Court ruling against the government in November for its failure to tackle air pollution in the UK.

Speaking after the ClientEarth lawyer, transport minister John Hayes MP said that ClientEarth’s court case had been a “wake-up call” and that the government accepted “nothing is off the table, we need to do more.”

Alan Andrews also called for the Government to carry out a proper investigation into the use of so-called “defeat devices” by other manufacturers in the wake of the VW emissions scandal.

He added that the mayor should work with the govt to push for reform of the Euro 6 scheme at EU level and develop a “clean car label” based on how much pollution cars emit under normal driving conditions.

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Mathijs Lemmers