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The Sun calls for diesel scrappage scheme following London Mayor’s air quality manifesto

The tabloid newspaper says the campaign is for ‘compensation for the millions of drivers seduced into buying diesel cars – and who now face large fines as a result’.

Its comments follow last week's announcement by the Mayor of London of his air quality manifesto that sets out plans for an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in central London, with a fee equivalent to double the Congestion Charge for diesels which don’t meet the 2015 Euro 6 emissions standards.

The Sun added: ‘Almost 11 million people have been persuaded by successive governments to snap up the “greener” vehicles since 2001, when then-Chancellor Gordon Brown increased excise duty for petrol cars with higher carbon dioxide emissions — making diesels a comparative bargain. The number of diesel car owners in the UK has rocketed from 1.6 million to 11 million in the space of a decade.’

It also said: ‘But major cities are now planning to punish diesel drivers with a £10-a-day tax because of other killer fumes which are linked to the fuel.’ However, at this stage only London has put forward proposals for a penalty charge on older diesel cars.

The campaign also ignores the 3% BiK surcharge currently being levied on diesels run as company cars, which is to be scrapped from April 2016.

The campaign follows on the back of last month’s news that EU judges have been told the UK is to break European nitrogen dioxide limits until at least 2030 – more than 20 years after the original deadline –despite the fact that the Government previously said that limits would be met by 2025.

The Sun says its campaign for a diesel scrappage scheme, which would be similar to the scrappage initiative launched in 2009 to boost the car industry, is backed by organisations including the RAC and the AA.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: ‘There’s a lot of merit in a scrappage scheme for older diesel vehicles. It could follow the previous one that offered £2,000 off the price of a new vehicle to drivers of diesel cars more than ten years old. But the Government also need to be able to say how they can help drivers who have recently bought diesel.’

AA president Edmund King added: ‘Scrappage was incredibly successful for cars and quite revenue-neutral due to its effect on the new car industry. A scrappage scheme could also target the gross polluters.’

Drivers wishing to back the campaign can sign the petition at http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/5809435/Sun-campaign-to-help-diesel-drivers-hit-by-Government-u-turn.html

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 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. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.