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Do you own a diesel car? Why you could be paid to scrap it.Back

If you own an older diesel car, you could soon be paid to scrap it under government plans to tackle pollution, according to reports.

A diesel scrappage scheme would be part of a new strategy to improve air quality after Europe said UK proposals did not go far enough.

The new scheme is due to be debated by MPs tomorrow in the House of Commons.


What is the scheme?

Ministers are said to be considering a scheme that pays drivers up to £2,000 towards a new car.

Under the new plan, half of the payments could come from the government with the rest coming from car manufacturers.

The scheme will aim to reduce air pollution and try and encourage drivers to buy more environmentally-friendly cars.

The scheme is likely to be restricted to reduce costs.

Options could include limiting payments to owners living in the areas suffering the worst pollution, or those on low incomes.

In France, a similar scheme saw drivers of diesel cars handed €10,000 ditch their motor and now 100,000 citizens drive an all-electric car.

A previous scheme in the UK in 2009/10 offered drivers cash payments of £1,000 to trade in their aging cars.

This was topped up by matching payments from the car industry and took almost 400,000 of the most polluting vehicles off UK roads.


When will it begin?

Government officials are keen for diesel cars to be removed from British roads by 2030.

A pilot scheme could take place in the most-polluted areas of the UK, such as London, before being implemented nationwide.

Neil Parish, chairman of the Commons environment committee, supports the scrappage plan and is expected to use a parliamentary debate tomorrow to raise the proposal.

He is expected to tell MPs that government funding of £500m would take nearly 10 per cent of the five million dirtiest diesels off the road.

It would target as many as half of the most polluting diesel vehicles in UK air quality hotspots.

Last year, the government was told to strengthen its plans to tackle pollution after a judicial review found its existing proposals to be “woefully inadequate”.

It is also said to be considering new taxes on dirty vehicles, although Theresa May has said she did not want punish drivers who have been encouraged to buy diesel cars by previous governments.


What will it mean for diesel owners?

If the legislation comes into place, diesel drivers will be encouraged to part with their car and opt for an electric or hybrid replacement.

Car buyers in the UK who opt for electric vehicles currently get a £4,500 contribution towards the cost.

The Government are also likely to announce additional taxes on diesel drivers to increase the incentive for these drivers to switch.


Why are diesel cars so bad?

New evidence suggests that diesels are in fact much more harmful than previously thought, particularly in regard to NOx production. The recent VW Group emissions cheating scandal has only added fuel to the fire.

Previous governments have actively encouraged Brits to buy diesel cars as they were thought to be better for the environment because they produce less carbon emissions than petrol cars.

However diesel cars produce high levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) linked to lung conditions such as asthma, with older models said to be particularly polluting.

The UK had almost 12,000 premature deaths linked to nitrogen dioxide in 2013, according to the European Environment Agency. That was the second-highest total in Europe after Italy.

There are about 11.2 million diesel cars on UK roads, 17 per cent of which are more than 12 years old.


Posted by Beth Rose on 18/04/2017