Bring in diesel scrap-for-cash scheme in toxic air hotspots, ministers to be told

Francesca Gillett
Exhaust fumes from a car in south London: Getty Images

Diesel car owners who live in pollution hotspots should be given cash to scrap their cars, ministers are likely to be told this week.

The chair of a top Commons environment committee will urge the Government this week to tackle emissions by encouraging diesel drivers to get rid of their cars.

It comes after the level of toxic air in London hit the highest black alert earlier this year and top doctors warned time was “running out” to protect the capital’s children from air pollution.

MP Neil Parish, who is chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee, will use a House of Commons debate on Wednesday to bring up the issue of tackling emissions.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the MP will say that "households should not just be able to trade in multiple diesels for a cash subsidy", and instead the Government "should particularly consider targeting a scrappage scheme at poorer households or those earning less than 60 per cent of the median UK household income".

Neil Parish MP: The chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee will speak in a Commons debate. (Getty Images)

Mr Parish will say: "If the Government earmarked £500 million for this scheme, it would take nearly 10 per cent of the five million dirtiest diesels off our roads."

The newspaper reports that he will say: "Limiting the scheme to these hotspots could potentially take as many as half of these dirtiest diesels out of these pollution hotspots."

It comes before the Government publishes its updated clean air plans later this month, after courts ruled that existing plans to meet EU-mandated air quality limits are not sufficient.

There had been speculation that the plans would include a scrappage scheme aimed at taking older, more polluting diesel cars off the roads and replacing them with cleaner vehicles.

A poll by the AA last month found that 68 per cent of drivers would support a diesel scrappage scheme, with just 10% of motorists opposed to it.

The Telegraph says Mr Parish will suggest families could swap their polluting cars for low emission-producing vehicles, public transport tickets, bicycles or a car club membership.

In February, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said “nothing is off the table” when asked whether he would consider a ban on driving to cut deadly air pollution.

He also announced a new £21.50 T-charge for diesel cars to drive into central London on weekdays.

Additional reporting by Press Association.