London Mayor Sadiq Khan has suggested that the UK government introduce a diesel scrappage scheme in a bid to encourage drivers to give up polluting diesel vehicles for more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
It’s a possible move that’s been being discussed for some time, since it became clear that the UK was falling well short of meeting emissions targets. In London specifically, pollution has been at extremely high levels at various points this year, leading the authorities to go as far as advising citizens to avoid strenuous outdoor activity on certain days, especially if they suffer from breathing-related health issues.
According to a report in The Evening Standard, the proposed scrappage scheme would pay out up to £3,500 for each scrapped vehicle, at a total cost to the government of up to £500 Million. The headline figure would apply to van drivers, with up to £2000 offered to “low-income families” with vehicles that meet the (as yet precisely defined) criteria.
It’s important to note that, at this stage, this is merely a proposal for the government and not yet something under formal review. However, as soon as it became clear in recent months that extra taxes for diesel drivers (and perhaps even diesel bans in cities) were potentially on the cards, it was almost inevitable that such a suggestion would rise to the surface.
How will drivers react?
At PetrolPrices.com, we know for a fact that this proposal will be highly controversial. Past reports relating to the future of diesels and their drivers have resulted in huge numbers of member comments.
The reason this subject is so emotive is that previous governments actively encouraged people to choose a diesel vehicle. There were even tax breaks in place to act as incentives. The fact that the prevalent scientific research at the time has now been proved wrong provides little consolation to those who only did as they were advised.
On the face of it, it seems highly unlikely that this proposal would appease everyone, even if it were to become law. While some people with particularly old vehicles would be able to “cash in” and buy something slightly better, for many £2000 would be nothing more than a token gesture, after buying a far more expensive car that they would feel penalised for driving in the event of future tax increases.
How do you feel about this proposal? Let us know your views in the comments