Election manifesto round-up – who’s promising what?
News entry dated 18th May 2017

The UK general election is on 8 June 2017. All the main political parties have now released their manifesto pledges. We look at what they could mean for motorists in the UK over the next few years.

Liberal Democrat manifesto

The Lib Dems have made the ambitious pledge that, if elected, they would ban diesel car sales by 2025. They would pair this with the much-discussed diesel scrappage scheme, with cash incentives for drivers to trade in pre-Euro 4 diesels.

Ultra low emissions zones also featured in their manifesto, with the Lib Dems wanting to expand the system to ten towns and cities. Currently only in place in central London, ultra low emissions zones require those driving vehicles that don’t meet emissions targets to pay a daily fee. Drivers who don’t pay the fee can face fines of up to £130 under the current system.

Our View: It’s a sensible plan to create more ultra low emission zones. However, the idea of banning diesel cars by 2025 – with no mention of diesel trucks or public transport vehicles – means the plan lacks credibility and smacks of a party that is kicking ideas around rather than having a solid, deliverable plan.

Conservative manifesto

Perhaps predictably, the Tory manifesto included no news for motorists. Perhaps the Conservatives didn’t want to risk upsetting a large proportion of their voters (diesel drivers). Then again, maybe it was the knowledge that they may soon have to deliver on the controversial pollution plan that kept them quiet.

The draft pollution report was certainly met with dissatisfaction when it was released in April. Having seen the uproar that their watered-down pledges to tackle pollution in major towns and cities caused, it seems the Tories decided to stay quiet on the subject, leaving the battle against pollution to local councils.

Our View: We expect to see the Conservatives break their silence on motoring matters after the election, particularly in the Autumn budget. After all, there’s no point in them aggravating motorists until they’ve won the election. Move along, nothing to see here!

Labour manifesto

The Labour pledge was one of the more progressive when it came to motoring.

The party pledged to retrofit thousands of diesel buses in high pollution areas – a contrast to the charges we’ve seen suggested by both other parties.

If Labour were to win the election, they also claim they would put the UK at the forefront of low emission vehicle manufacture.

Other notable pledges included 5G motorways by 2019 and scrapping hospital parking fees, subsidised by tax increases in other areas.

Our View: There are some real vote winners included and their plans do seems to be well thought out. However, as is the case with all the Labour manifesto reading, it feels more like a wish list than a coherent plan that they actually expect to deliver. 5G on motorways sounds amazing but it will cost billions – where is the money coming from?

What do you think about the general election manifesto pledges? Leave a comment below to let us know.

Image credit – Pixabay 






Mark Wilcox May 21, 2017

Can I just ask what use 5G along motorways will be to drivers?

We're not allowed to use our phones while driving and, even if we were, the only advantage of the massive speed gain would be to be able to watch 4K UHD videos on the move, something which I would rather no fellow driver do anywhere near me.

graham connolly May 20, 2017

What the big wigs don't realise. Running an electric car requires electricity, where would 30 million cars get their electricity from?? I have bought two new cars a Diesel which returns 60 mpg and a eco petrol that returns 45 mpg. If everyone had to buy petrol, according to my example the country would have to import 25% more crude oil, and what brings that here, Diesel powered super tankers. All the recent ideas about pollution are off the cuff solutions thought up on the spur of the moment by politicians that have no common sense.

Charles Mills May 19, 2017

I have today sent the following email to my local MP.

Dear Mr Betts,

While I understand that we need to improve the air quality in our country, I am concerned that this will primarily fall on the owners of diesel vehicles being the ones that will be left to pay for Government and manufacturers folly.

The government should be taking a harder line with the manufacturers similar to that that has been adopted in the USA, or give the manufactures the option to replace engines for cleaner petrol engines or add the add blue system to diesel engines that are suitable for conversion.

As a driver of a VW diesel I am very concerned and to try to help I limit my speed to 50 mph to reduce the effect my pollution has on the environment.

As Far as a scrappage scheme as an option, it will never work if it only paid out if you buy an electric or Hydrogen fuelled vehicle as most of the owners of the older polluting vehicle will not be able to afford the options mentioned.
Indeed I need to carry an electric wheelchair and I also tow a caravan currently there is no electric vehicle I could purchase that would allow me to lead as normal a life as possible.

I personally think that before any firm plans are put in place on how to solve the problem there needs to be public consultation and meetings to fully appreciate the scale of the problem.

There also need to be a serious rethink on our public transport system as most of the vehicles used have no anti pollution measures applied to them, this in itself is deplorable as they are slow moving vehicles whose engines are running constantly, even the new hybrid buses that are used in Sheffield fall into this category as they can only fully fulfil their potential when used in places that are not built on hills.

Please do not penalise the drivers who have been duped by the poor decisions of others.


james fox May 19, 2017

Re your election manifesto article especially Lib Dems control of diesel emissions for pre Euro 4 cars.
I have a 2006 diesel so according to the RAC website mine should comply with the Euro 4 standard. However, although my car passed, comparing the standard limits listed and my MOT readout there is no relation in terms of measurements stated. Is there a conversion formula or is there an explanation?
Why is there such a big shift to now condemn the diesel engine whereas 2/3 years ago we were being encouraged to buy a diesel engined car illegibly being that they were less harmful to the environment.
Additionally not driving through London I am not aware of their free zone restrictions but are the Lib Dems proposing to adopt the London system or as a pro Europe party will they adopt the French method including a typical bureaucratic registration system including any additional charges?
As usual, which ever political party is involved, the motorist is seen as an easy option to target.

John Killip May 19, 2017

Labour does seem to be the most thought out we do need more of our own home grown industry producing low emission diesel engines and retrofitting existing diesels would seem a very good idea. Surely 5G along Motorways would not be billions a lot of the costs for the transmitters is the planning permission and the purchase of land. The cost of the actual technology is coming down all the time.
All the 3 Main parties would have a great deal more money to spend on transport and its infrastructure if they cancelled HS2 saving £100 billion by 2033 when it is programmed to fully be up and running to Leeds and Manchester

    Dave Smith May 19, 2017

    We may need more home grown industry, but Labour's manifesto gives no detail whatsoever on how it will achieve its aim to "position the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra low emission vehicles". It talks about investing in low emission vehicles, but what does that mean?
    And where will the companies developing and manufacturing these technologies and vehicles come from, given that many of Labour's other policies are anti-business: increasing corporation tax and levies on companies employing high earners, not to mention increasing taxes on medium to high earners like the people qualified to work on developing those technologies. That's not well thought out; it's a vague and immeasurable aim that they can't be held to even if it were realistic.

Dave Smith May 19, 2017

Not to defend Labour too heavily, but 5G is not tied to 2019 by their manifesto. Current estimates are that 5G will not be rolled out until at least 2020 as its specification is not yet defined, and even Labour's wishful thinking isn't that wishful!
Lib Dems can basically say what they like as they have zero chance of being elected; I'm not entirely sure why they would want to ban diesel cars completely rather than use diesel as a part of the wider mix of fuel types. A big part of the problem was people buying diesel cars because they were incentivised, when they were only using them for short city-based journeys - entirely inappropriate for that technology. The EU's emissions and economy testing was a large driver behind that incentivisation. Rather than banning diesels, a sensible policy might be to introduce a car "labelling" system, or some kind of interactive buying guide, to help those less versed in automotive technology understand what type of car is appropriate for their usage; the SMMT could play a role in that.
Any reason you haven't included other parties? Plaid Cymru and the SNP will both be winning seats at this election, and the latter will certainly win more than the Lib Dems.