Currently reading: Greenpeace protests outside Volkswagen UK headquarters
Environmental campaign group is demanding an audience with Volkswagen UK boss Paul Willis regarding diesel engines
Jimi Beckwith
3 mins read
20 August 2018

Greenpeace campaigners have blockaded Volkswagen UK's headquarters in Milton Keynes, protesting against the effects of diesel engine emissions on people’s health. 

The group’s aim is to speak with Volkswagen UK boss Paul Willis. Greenpeace and several doctors have set up a makeshift clinic to highlight concerns about the effect of diesel emissions, particularly nitrogen oxides (NOx). 

Greenpeace has targeted Volkswagen in the wake of the Dieselgate emissions scandal, pinpointing it as the biggest seller of diesel-engined cars in the UK. 

It also cites Volkswagen’s refusal to give up on diesel despite greater backlash across Europe as another reason for its criticism. 

A Volkswagen spokesman said: "Paul Willis offered Greenpeace 18 months ago the opportunity to visit Wolfsburg in order to find out more about our future strategy. The letter has not been answered."

Rosie Rogers, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "Today's protest has taken a few months to plan. We are still waiting to hear if Paul Willis will come down to meet us today. We’re targeting Volkswagen because it is the biggest producer of diesel cars and puts 1 in 5 diesel cars on UK roads.

"If Volkswagen quit diesel, it would have a big impact on the air our kids breathe. And it would wave an enormous red flag to the entire industry that it’s time to stop diesel car production in its tracks. On top of this, Volkswagen owes angry consumers a real debt because of Dieselgate."

When asked if Greenpeace is planning any protests at non-automotive pollution sources, Rogers said: "There aren’t any plans for this at the moment, as air pollution that is harming people’s health in towns and cities is predominantly caused by diesel vehicles. 

"Today, we’re hoping to get some face time with Paul Willis and speak to Volkswagen employees about the harm Volkswagen’s diesel plans will cause. But ultimately, we want Volkswagen to commit to end production of diesel cars and set a trajectory for 100% electric vehicles."

Volkswagen issued the following statement: "Volkswagen is aware of a protest at its Blakelands premises this morning. The safety of our employees is our principal concern and so the matter is now being handled by the police.

"The Volkswagen Group has launched the most comprehensive electrification initiative in the automotive industry with Roadmap E.  This will bring an additional 80 new electric vehicles to the Volkswagen Group model range by 2025. Roadmap E brings a 20 billion investment to electric vehicle technology with the goal of 25% of Volkswagen Group vehicle production comprising electrified vehicles by 2025 and 50% by 2030."

VW has agreed to meet with Greenpeace to discuss diesels following the protest.

Volkswagen has been a continued target for Greenpeace since the Dieselgate scandal broke, having previously boarded a car carrier ship at Sheerness Port in an attempt to stop diesel cars entering the UK.

It has also invaded a Jaguar Land Rover factory and protested at the Shell-sponsored Belgian Grand Prix in the past over climate change issues. 

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20 August 2018

 We know Deisel contributes to the bad Air problems but their not the only one, and when you pick a Car mag any Car mag it’s usually a Deisel powered Car getting Road tested, or if you go to the back of a Mag the new car prices start with Deisel powered Cars, if we want cleaner air start in the Cities, make gradually very Vehicle entering EV powered, every where else will take longer obviously, but we have to consider it.Protesting isn’t going to change anything, that’s just Greenpeace getting publicity, telling us they care, if someone came up with a way of makin* Deisel ultra clean no health issues to humans, would we go with it?

20 August 2018

As usual, Greenpeace show themselves to be utterly igorant about the thing they're protesting. Whilst the majority of NOx may well come from older diesel cars, newer ones aren't the problem. Considerably tighter NOx limits have driven all manufacturers to install Reductive Catalyst filters, so the target should be people in older diesel vehicles....and the thousands of commerical vehicles that are diesel powered. Stunt's like this only weaken Greenpeaces credentials. Much like the time they turned up to the Land Rover factory to protest SUVs in their dirty great vintage Greenpeace bus, belching out clouds of black smoke.

20 August 2018

I dislike Volkswagen and Greenpeace in equal measure. So while I find this somewhat funny I also wish this brainwashed army of radical leftist climate fanatics would just get lost.

20 August 2018

Are you talking about the few hours of protest 13 years ago?  That 2005 protest was about the potential negative environmental impact of large SUV's (mainly diesels). 13 years on it looks like they might have had a point after all.

Although it looks like it had little effect as Land Rovers seem to be getting bigger, heavier and more popular than ever.

No comment on the greenpeace bus emissions though.

20 August 2018

Which? Magazine has just confirmed that 47 out of 61 diesels conforming to the latest post-EU6 standards are still too dirty and some are emitting up to 25 times the levels of NOx, particulates and CO2 that the official tests say they should. This is also confirmed in real world driving by roadside testing by the Real Diesel Emissions website. Bottom line no diesel, old or new, EU3, 4, 5 or 6 is clean. Time to admit that and that diesels are killing you and your children. 

20 August 2018

I dont get Greenpeace - its partly because of them that we switched to lower CO2 producing diesels 20 years ago - they were, rightly, protesting about the greenhouse effect. Now, theyre complaining about all diesels (as opposed to VWs cheating) and want production stopped, despite the fact that CO2 output has INCREASED since dieselgate and will continued to increase for years before it decreases again if we stop using diesels overnight. Have they forgatten about global warming ? Do they not realise that diesel is part of the solution until we go full electric which will take years ? Why cant they protest about VW's cheating and start a campaign for all non 6d diesels to be retro fitted with emissions equipment to bring them up to 6d standards ? It would be much more sensible and would mean that CO2 emissions would go down again, rather than up. Whod have thought that Greenpeace would effectively be campaiging for global warming to be made worse ?

20 August 2018

Absolutely right. I think this is Greenpeace UK and they are absolutely all over the place here.

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