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RAC Foundation Claim Diesel Scrappage Scheme Would Not Improve Air Quality

April 12, 2016
Environmental Health

Paying to remove diesel cars from the roads is unlikely to have a significant impact on air quality according to a new report from the RAC Foundation. Researchers estimate that 1.9 million diesel cars fall into the oldest and most polluting categories, making up 17% of all diesel cars currently in use.

If a programme similar to the one introduced by the Labour administration in 2009 was adopted, its predicted it would take 400,000 of the oldest vehicles off the road at a cost of approximately £800 million. Replacing those cars with electric vehicles would, the study says, only reduce the emissions from all diesel cars by 3.2%. A scheme to replace them with Euro 6 emission standard cars would be even less successful cutting total NOx emissions by just 1.3%.

RAC Foundation director, Steve Gooding, said: “Instinctively a scrappage scheme to get the oldest, dirtiest diesels off the road seems like a good idea. But these numbers suggest otherwise. At best it looks like emissions would be reduced by only a few percent, unless government was prepared to launch a scheme on an unprecedented scale. The big problem is that not only have the oldest diesel cars failed to live up to official environmental standards, so too have many more recent ones. So a scrappage scheme could cost hundreds of millions of pounds and barely dent the problem.”

The study suggests that rather than scrappage, emphasis should be put on increasing subsidies and charging points for electric vehicles, as well as looking at pollution from lorries and buses.

You can read the full RAC Foundation report HERE.