Diesel cars will soon have to pay £20 per day to enter some of the UK's most polluted 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