Drivers of older diesel vehicles could benefit from a scrappage scheme, as the Government moves to improve air quality in English cities

A plan to encourage owners of the oldest diesels to trade them in for newer, cleaner cars, could be revealed this Friday.

The Telegraph newspaper reports that two schemes are being considered: a £2000 scrappage incentive, or a newly detailed scheme that could subsidise the retrofitting of diesel vehicles with nitrogen oxide filters to improve emissions. The latter plan is expected to be targeted primarily at vans, but could be extended to the most polluting diesel cars. A government grant would cover the cost of fitment.

The diesel scrappage scheme has been mooted throughout 2017 as part of a plan to improve air quality, with diesel cars facing increasing environmental criticism in the wake of the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal.  

Initiatives to reduce diesel emissions have become more widespread in recent months and include a proposal that diesel drivers will soon have to pay £20 a day in ‘Toxin Tax’ to enter London. It's believed that the government is dissuading local councils from imposing their own levies on diesel cars, though, believing that it may become an issue among voters in the run up to the General Election.

Diesel scrappage scheme proposed

The diesel scrappage scheme was originally suggested earlier this year.

Under the proposed scheme, diesel drivers would be paid to trade-in their cars for newer, cleaner models.

Sources suggest the scheme would pay drivers up to £2000 to trade-in their old diesel cars, although the funding may be limited to lower-income drivers in the worst polluted areas.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "Decisions will be taken when we produce that [air quality] plan.

"But 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." 

The scrappage scheme plan was originally suggested by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has put London's air quality near the top of the agenda since taking office last year. Since then, chair of the Commons environment committee, Neil Parish, has announced his support of a scrappage scheme.

Daily diesel 'Toxin Tax' of £20 for worst polluted cities

The scrappage scheme was proposed after proposals were put forward to make drivers of diesel vehicles pay £20 per day in ‘Toxin Tax’.

As concerns about diesel cars’ emissions become more widespread, both commercial diesel vehicles, such as lorries and coaches, and diesel passenger cars were under threat of being hit with the £20-per-day tax in England's 10 worst affected cities, which include Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, London, Nottingham and Southampton

Sources suggest newer vehicles would be excluded from the tax, while cities ranking below the top ten for poor air quality would only apply the tax to commercial diesel vehicles. In some areas, diesel-powered vehicles could be banned altogether during peak hours.

Sadiq Khan is also due to announce a £12.50 daily fee for higher polluting vehicles inside London's North and South Circular roads, which would come into effect in October. This is on top of the Congestion Charge.

It’s not the first time diesels have come under fire recently. Since the Volkswagen dieselgate emissions cheating scandal, numerous calls for tax hikes, charges and levies have been reported, and cities across Europe have planned to ban diesel or all fossil-fuelled cars in the future. 

Additional reporting by Emily Brown

Read more: 

Is it time to say goodbye to diesel?

Will London's pollution problem spell the end of diesel cars?

Norway to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2025

German states want to ban petrol and diesel cars by 2030

Westminster council to charge diesel drivers 50% more to park

Diesel vehicles to be banned from Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City by 2025

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Comments
74

3 April 2017
Diesel is killing us - literally. The sooner it is phased out the better.

3 April 2017
Shame most of us won't be around to reap the benefits.

5 April 2017
Thekrankis wrote:

Diesel is killing us - literally. The sooner it is phased out the better.

So is petrol. So are falling down the stairs, crossing the road, smoking, junk food and just about everything else.

7 April 2017
Thekrankis wrote:

Diesel is killing us - literally. The sooner it is phased out the better.

Nope

One in one people die! There is zero evidence that diesel cars have killed anybody from PM or NOx.

Of course they pollute but 50% of ALL NOx (yes from all sources including heating and power generation) comes from just euro 1-3 PETROL cars according to DEFRA roadside testing 2014.

Petrols now 10 times worse than euro 6 diesels for PM as thye have no traps.

Pre 2005 diesels actually cleaner for NOx than the obese modern vehicles. It's over weight machines that create the worst PM according to University of Hertfordshire research tests done in A1M Hatfield tunnel showed only 1/3 of all PM is from exhaust pipes. Vast majority from tyre and road surface wear. Heavier modern cars with bigger tyres and more drag (more fuel and pollutants). So this includes EVs and SUVs which are heavier than equivalent ICE. Compare Golf 1.4 TSI with Golf GTE or e-Golf.

Since 1970s there has been massive reductions in all polutants except Ammonia. NH3 is acrid and increasing in city centres -
mostly from uptake in petrol ICE, hybrids, PHEVs post dieselgate.

19 April 2017
I know the CO2 output for a 2002 VW 1.2TDI 3L, but can't find any data on NO2, NO, SO2 or particulates.
Will this car have it's congestion charge free status revoked?

RogerHudson

19 April 2017
I know the CO2 output for a 2002 VW 1.2TDI 3L, but can't find any data on NO2, NO, SO2 or particulates.
Will this car have it's congestion charge free status revoked?

RogerHudson

3 April 2017
If the aim is to improve air quality, then I'm pretty sure that diesel vehicles aren't the only problem. Surely older petrol cars (especially those with carburettors, lawnmowers, coal and wood-burning stoves and oil fired heating systems are just as bad, if not worse. Maybe steps should be taken to tax those too, but hey, cars have number plates and the motorist is just the easy target.

4 April 2017
Diesel particulates are known carcinogens, much more extreme than any other item you mentioned. It's not about air quality as much as it's about reducing particulates in cities.

5 April 2017
Jon 1972 wrote:

Diesel particulates are known carcinogens, much more extreme than any other item you mentioned. It's not about air quality as much as it's about reducing particulates in cities.

All the items mentioned produce plenty of particulates.

7 April 2017
transportenvironment dot org press new-petrol-engines-cause-more-air-pollution-dirty-diesels

See also recent Hatfield A1M tunnel tests - by far largest PM emissions come from road contact - tyres and road surface wear. Heavier modern cars worst.

chm dot bris dot ac dot uk ~chidb personal content paper53.pdf

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