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What will the diesel scrappage scheme mean for diesel drivers?

Flip flopping on their message isn’t exactly new for governments over the years. And when it comes to diesel car emissions, they’ve been true to form. While UK drivers were once encouraged to drive diesel cars thanks to the assumption that they caused less damage than petrol, it turned out that this wasn’t quite the case. Penalties for driving diesel ensued causing a fair amount of outrage among those who followed earlier advice.

Suggested diesel scrappage scheme

So, the recent suggestion of a possible diesel scrappage scheme should be welcomed by drivers. The BBC has reported that drivers may be paid to trade in their diesel cars as part of a wider push to improve air quality. The scandal surrounding Volkswagen kick started the close scrutiny of the damaging effects of diesel engines and provoked understandable fury in drivers who had been convinced to choose it over petrol. This scheme would offer some form of compensation to diesel drivers by paying up to £2000 to trade in their vehicle. The scheme hasn’t yet been announced, but it’s expected that ministers will opt for the scrappage option, albeit with restrictions. To minimise costs, it’s likely to only be offered to drivers on low incomes or people who live in areas with the highest pollution levels.

The harm that diesel does

It’s all about the nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines, with older models causing more damage. These emissions exacerbate lung conditions and, the European Environment Agency produced alarming numbers for premature death in the UK. In 2013, there were almost 12,000 early deaths linked to or caused by nitrogen dioxide. With 11.2 million diesel vehicles on the road, and 17 per cent of these over 12 years old, it’s a problem that has to be tackled.

Scrappage plan part of a larger clean air initiative

The UK has the second highest rating of deaths caused by nitrogen oxide in Europe, something which hasn’t escaped the Prime Minister’s notice. It’s particularly on her radar as her government’s plans to tackle pollution in 2016 were judge to be “woefully inadequate” by an independent judicial review. Theresa May has been quoted as saying: “Decisions will be taken when we produce the air quality plan. I’m very conscious of the fact that past governments have encouraged people to buy diesel cars and we need to take that into account when we look at what we do in the future.” It’s thought that the government will be told that by funding the scrappage plan with £500 million would remove around 10 per cent of the 5 million worst diesel cars off UK roads. This investment would be doubled by car manufacturers to hit the target of 10 per cent.

Most polluted cities could be hit with a daily toxin tax


A separate initiative to discourage people from driving vehicles will also shortly be announced. This so called ‘toxin tax’ will amount to a £20 charge per day for drivers of diesel vehicles in the 10 worst hit cities. This includes London, Nottingham, Southampton and Leeds and will see commercial and passenger vehicles slapped with the cost to further turn drivers away from diesel engines, although newer vehicles will be exempt.

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