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Greenpeace activists cling to diesel agenda with Volkswagen raid

Campaigners from Greenpeace have stormed a ship importing Volkswagen diesel cars into the UK as they call for the cars to be sent back to Germany.

Volkswagen logo

Greenpeace activists cling to diesel agenda with Volkswagen raid

Earlier today, more than 40 volunteers illegally entered secure areas of the Port of Sheerness in Kent where the vehicles were awaiting distribution and, according to Greenpeace, attempted to immobilise the diesel cars by removing the keys while also labelling the engines with messages calling on Volkswagen to “ditch diesel”.

One Greenpeace volunteer said the action was being held “to block VW imports on behalf of all of the children who are the most acutely affected by the health impacts of diesel fumes” while a spokesperson for the organisation claimed that “despite VW’s attempts to look like it’s moving to electric, it still has no plans to ditch diesel”.

The raid comes just days after Volkswagen Group said it was working towards carbon-neutral combustion engines, seeing petrol and diesel as a vital technology despite plans for mass electrification of its model range over the next decade.

Speaking at an event before the Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller said all diesel engines will feature Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) going forward, and the group will use particulate filters on new petrol engines.

The Group is also investing in synthetic fuels, both petrol and diesel, which Müller said could make the combustion engine carbon-neutral, and will offer part-electric drivetrains across its entire portfolio – which includes Lamborghini and Bugatti – by 2030.

Defending its actions, Greenpeace pointed to independent test results published last week, which showed how a VW Golf model emitted over two times more toxic pollutants than the legal limit when driven on a busy urban road. However the test vehicle was not fitted with SCR technology – tests carried out last year by Emissions Analytics found that many SCR-equipped Volkswagen models were among the cleanest on the market.

Commenting on the situation, Volkswagen pointed out the fact that the car also included petrol and plug-in hybrid models.

Peel Ports, which runs the Port of Sheerness, said in a statement that it was working with the police, Greenpeace and Volkswagen to resolve the situation.

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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.