Policy Exchange, a non-government organisation, has suggested that a new scrappage scheme be introduced for almost all diesel cars.
The think-tank suggests that such a scheme would be the fairest way to get motorists to give up derv-fulled vehicles.
“If we are to clean up air pollution, then Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift to alternatives. This needs to be done in a way that does not unduly penalise existing diesel drivers, who bought their vehicle in good faith, and gives motorists sufficient time to respond” said Richard Howard, Head of Environment and Energy at Policy Exchange.
This report follows a suggestion by the Commons Select Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that some major cities could introduce extra ‘congestion charge’-style levy’s on anyone entering proscribed zones. The areas mentioned by the committee are Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.
The outpourings of an NGO or that of a select committee rarely make it into the popular press, but The Sun has picked up on the document and has launched a reader petition to campaign for a scrappage scheme to ‘compensate drivers seduced into buying diesel cars – and now face fines over their killer fumes’.
The Policy Exchange proposals also include a higher rate of purchase tax on diesel vehicles – and parliament select committees often debate its ideas that in turn can eventually be passed into legislation.
So far the aftermarket’s response to the suggestion has been relatively muted. However Quentin Wilson, speaking on behalf of the Fair Fuel UK pressure group said: “While we definitely need to improve air quality in our cities we worry if local authorities are given powers to create congestion charge zones they’ll approach the process with the same leaden-handed zeal they’ve applied to parking. The last thing we want is to diminish the public’s enthusiasm for cleaner air. Taking old, worn and badly maintained diesel vehicles off our roads should be an urgent priority and we at FairFuelUK will support a fully thought out, workable and cost effective scrappage scheme.”