Officials in the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are devising a diesel scrappage scheme and are considering offering cashback payment or discount on low-emission vehicles, if people trade in their old polluting diesel vehicles. This scheme is to reduce the number of carbon polluting vehicles in the U.K.
Although talks are still being held with the treasury which would provide finance for the scheme, officials are developing a plan that would concentrate on parts of Britain with the highest pollution. Richard Howard, head of environment and energy at Policy Exchange, said: “Policy Exchange welcomes reports that the Government is considering a diesel scrappage scheme.
“We have proposed a package of measures to clean up air pollution, including a diesel scrappage scheme, together with restrictions on the most polluting vehicles entering cities, and tighter emission standards for new vehicles. “To have the best chance of cleaning up air pollution, Government should use a combination of national fiscal policies, such as a diesel scrappage scheme, and city-level policies such as restrictions on the most polluting vehicles”.
Earlier in the month, a number of London boroughs recorded toxic air quality levels, forcing the city’s Mayor to call on people to stay indoors and put off exercise until the levels improved. It also came as Westminster council introduced a 50 per cent surcharge on parking for diesel cars, in a bid to drive them out of the borough.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling when addressing the House of Commons emphasized the urgency required with the UK’s pollution problem. He said that he supports plans for a scrappage scheme, but that it must be properly targeted. He said: “We have to find the right way to migrate the nature of the cars on our roads to a point where they cause much less of a pollution problem than they do at the moment.”
According to BBC, Mr. Grayling said: “The irony is that a decade ago, because of concerns about carbon emissions, there was a drive towards diesel… that we now know has a different set of negative effects and the department for the environment is currently preparing, and will launch shortly, our strategy to take tackling the diesel problem to the next level.”
He went ahead saying: “There is no question that in the future we are going to have to move to lower-emission vehicles. We need to do it soon… I would like to see a migration of people away from current technologies to lower-emission technologies. We are providing incentives to do that now and we will be doing more in the months ahead.”