Diesel scrappage scheme could convert 15000 to EVs

07 May, 2017, 13:23 | Author: Kristopher Anderson
  • Air pollution over London

Back in November 2016, after numerous delays and a legal challenge from the environmental group ClientEarth, the High Court ordered environment secretary Andrea Leadsom to reveal the government's plans for reducing the UK's air pollution.

The strategy is instead focusing on Clean Air Zones which, according to the technical report, could deliver more than £1bn in net value.

Under the scheme drivers would be paid up to £8,000 to trade in their diesel and petrol cars and replace them with electric versions.

It does not include a predicted diesel scrappage scheme as a proposal, although such a scheme remains a possibility.

"Rather than taking responsibility for the quality of the air our children breathe, this Tory government is trying to palm this issue off onto cash-strapped local councils".

Incentives, such as lower business rates, could also be applied to those businesses which demonstrate "strong commitment and action in support of the ambitions of a Clean Air Zone".

The Government is consulting on a range of measures including the option to introduce clean air zones in 27 towns and cities in England to reduce pollution in urban areas.

Measures implemented in the zones could include charging motorists who drive the dirtiest vehicles.

For residents already living inside Clean Air Zones some exceptions will be made because "by the simple virtue of their location they not have the choice open to others of avoiding a zone when in a vehicle", the Government said.

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Friends of the Earth Scotland said that as a result of the Scottish Government's "foot-dragging on clean air", people will continue to die prematurely from air pollution.

While many parts of the country are breaching emissions limits, the report says that Greater London now has the dirtiest air in the United Kingdom, and that reducing emissions in the areas is "the most challenging" aspect of the plan.

Today, the government will unveil its air quality strategy, which aims to clampdown on the harmful levels of pollution in the country.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is emitted by diesel engines, and is linked to a range of respiratory diseases in the United Kingdom including asthma - in fact, the Royal College of Physicians says that air pollution is responsible for around 40,000 premature deaths every year. If the Government is swayed on the viability of a scrappage system, it would represent a U-turn on diesel vehicles, after years of policy and tax enablers saw diesel auto sales in Britain increase from 14% to 36%. "The plan looks much weaker than we had hoped for", said Thornton.

The issue came to a head with environmental law firm ClientEarth's legal battle with the UK Government last November, which challenged them over breaches to European Union air pollution laws and domestic regulation.

The government breaks down clean air zones into two categories in the plan: non-charging clean air zones and charging clean air zones.

Vehicle makers have begun to react to the plans, with Jaguar Land Rover saying that its latest diesel engines are "among the cleanest in the world".

The government is seeking views on these proposals in advance of preparing its final plan for publication by 31 July 2017 and the consultation will run until 15 June 2017.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Khan said the plans "go nowhere near addressing the public health emergency we are facing".

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