Diesel demonisation: What does it mean for independents?

Demand for diesel is falling and the gov is now likely to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme

A scrappage scheme for diesel cars could be introduced within months, according to officials in the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), despite the DfT previously denying plans for such a scheme last year.

The government may offer a cashback payment or money off low-emission vehicles as part of a plan to lower emissions and improve air quality, according to The Telegraph.

It follows renewed, dramatic warnings about the toxic pollutants emitted from diesel engines and also came as Westminster introduced a 50 per cent surcharge on parking for diesel cars – a move which is thought to be replicated in cities across the country.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling told the BBC: “The irony is that a decade ago, because of concerns about carbon emissions there was a drive towards diesel, that we now know has a different set of negative effects and the department for the environment is currently preparing, and will launch shortly, our strategy to take tackling the diesel problem to the next level.

‘Tackling the diesel problem’

“There is no question that in the future we are going to have to move to lower-emission vehicles.

“We need to do it soon.

“I would like to see a migration of people away from current technologies to lower-emission technologies.

“We are providing incentives to do that now and we will be doing more in the months ahead.”

However, in a recent BBC Radio 4 interview, SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes said the way to address the issue of diesel air pollution was to “make diesels cleaner”.

‘Make diesels cleaner’

“The diesel engines of today have got immeasurably cleaner than those of yesterday,” he explained.

“What we need to do is continue to improve them so that you can address the NOX emissions in the same way that we’ve addressed the particulate emissions, sulphur emissions, lead in petrol and so forth – it’s an evolution in technology.

“The challenge to the industry is to get the newer vehicles on the road as quickly as possible.”

However, some would argue that by ‘making diesels cleaner’, VMs will only add to the current complication of diesel maintenance, diagnostics and repair – making the second-hand diesel car even more unaffordable for the majority.

GW reader, Denis Jenkins said: “The independents, the aftermarket spares manufacturers, the motor factors and the sector of the motoring public that can’t afford the newer cars or are not prepared to take out credit arrangements can obviously get stuffed, or so it would seem.

“As long as the motor manufacturers and then the dealers get their way, then to hell with the rest of us.”

MOT emissions

Another reader, Keith Davis said: “The manufacturers already think that a seven/eight-year-old car is almost at the end of its life, let alone the older vehicles which still use the highways of our country, and yet they are the ones who produce modern cars with or without cheats that at three-years-old, already struggle to pass the ministry emissions test.

“Yet they want to increase the period to four years?”

Chris Oakham of Trend Tracker, automotive industry research provider, said: “Given all the drama in recent years about ‘carbon footprints’, and how we were encouraged to buy diesels because of lower CO2 emissions, discouraging diesels seems to be the new plan.

“The UK Labour Party is apparently discussing banning sales of cars with internal combustion engines from a certain date in the future.

“Only electric vehicles, or similar zero or low carbon, for example hydrogen, cars would be on sale.

“The trouble is the UK’s national grid spare capacity is very marginal, soon to become even more marginal as further requirements of the 2008 Climate Change Act kick in and all coal power stations are forced to close – by 2025, we believe.

“Also by that date, several nuclear power stations will close, having reached the end of their life.

“So going forward, just keeping the lights on will be hard enough, never mind charging millions of electric cars.

“Pollution is a problem, but we have to find better solutions than another ‘picking winners’ campaign by politicians.”


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