A U.K. parliamentary committee calls on the government to introduce a diesel-scrappage scheme “to encourage drivers to move away from polluting diesel vehicles.”
The Environmental Audit Committee also wants the government to ensure vehicle excise duty changes tackle harmful nitrogen-oxides pollution as well as climate-changing carbon-dioxide emissions.
Committee Chairman Huw Irranca-Davies, a member of the Labor Party, claims tens of thousands of premature deaths are being caused in the U.K. every year by illegal levels of air pollution on the road.
“Despite mounting evidence of the damage diesel fumes do to human health, changes to (the) vehicle excise duty announced in this year’s budget maintained the focus only on CO2 emissions,” he says in a statement.
Irranca-Davies says the Treasury must use the vehicle excise duty to create long-term incentives for drivers to buy cleaner hybrid and electric cars that minimize both CO2 and harmful pollutants.
“Introducing a national diesel-scrappage scheme could also provide a shortcut to cleaning up the air in our cities,” he says.
The committee welcomes a government proposal to create a national framework of clean air zones, but says giving the power to individual local authorities to decide the access rules for particular vehicles could lead to confusing signals being sent to drivers across the country.
“We are concerned that central government is trying to shift responsibility for meeting air-quality targets to local authorities at a time when they are facing severe funding cuts,” Irranca-Davies says.