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Boris calls for national diesel car scrappage scheme

Speaking to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee yesterday (Wednesday 10 September) to answer questions on air quality issues, the Mayor said he supported proposals for the Government to help motorists by offering between a £1,000 and £2,000 grant per vehicle for the most polluting diesels which are more than 12 months old.

The scheme would mean taking more than 150,000 polluting models off London’s roads, with a cost of up to £300m.

His comments follow the start of legal action earlier this year by the EU against the UK for illegal levels of harmful air pollution, including in London.

In response, Boris Johnsnon announced in July of his plans for drivers of diesel cars to pay additional vehicle excise duty and a £10 levy on the London Congestion Charge as part of his air quality manifesto for the Capital, which will promote the use of ultra-low emission vehicles to reduce harmful air pollution.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is set to take London two-thirds of the way to compliance with EU limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and will encourage all vehicles in central London to be ultra low or zero emission from 2020.

The proposal would be introduced in central London from 2020 subject to consultation.

Appearing before the Environmental Audit Committee, the Mayor said he believes that it is only fair that Government provides support to people who have bought diesel vehicles in good faith to switch to cleaner alternatives, which forms part of his newly published Transport Emission Road Map.

Boris Johnson said: 'I feel sorry for them [diesel drivers]. It is a massive failure of government policy. Millions of people were told that they were doing a decent thing by buying a diesel vehicle.'

The Transport Emission Road Map also calls on the Government to amend fiscal incentives and support more sustainable modes of travel. It also sets out proposals for Low Emission Neighbourhoods where new technology will be used to switch zero-emission capable buses and taxis into their zero-emission electric mode, reducing emissions in some of the most polluted parts of London where there are large numbers of people exposed. There are also proposals to tighten the standards for the Londonwide Low Emission Zone from 2025. 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.