AA calls for £1 billion diesel scrappage scheme

Motoring group wants English cities and the Government to each put £500 million into getting polluting cars off the road

Diesel smog, haze, pollution

The AA is calling for a £1 billion diesel scrappage scheme funded by English cities and central Government.

Cities in England - mayors from 14 of which have already called for a £1.5 billion ‘clean air fund’ - are planning to raise a total of £52 million this year from bus lane fines, which adds up to £520 million over 10 years. If this were to be combined with another £500 million from the Government, it would fund a £1 billion diesel scrappage scheme.

 Diesel ban: the state of play and what next for diesel cars in the UK? 

The AA says the first priority of such a scheme should be to ensure low-income drivers - such as families, the elderly and the disabled - living in urban areas are not priced off the road by low-emission zones and congestion charging schemes.

Scrappage grants would allow these residents to upgrade their old dirty diesel cars to newer Euro 6 compliant models. This money could then be recouped through interest-free loans or supplements on resident parking permit charges, allowing the money to be recycled back into funding EVs.

Another point the AA makes is that the push towards electrification needs to be targeted at the worst polluters, such as buses, taxis and vans, as well as higher mileage car drivers in cities, such as community nurses and visiting doctors. When a business benefits from this, the money should again be tied into a loan.

With many cities holding off on extending their clean air charges to private cars, the AA says its proposals would allow them to gauge the impact of targeting the vehicles that create the most pollution while they wait. This move would prevent low-income car owners from being put in the firing line in the first place.

• VW emissions scandal: latest news

Edmund King, president of the AA, commented: “This is a radical clean air plan that ticks so many of the boxes - protecting vulnerable low-income car owners, giving the city mayors most of the cleaner vehicle money they want and giving a surge of power to the electrification of city vehicles.

“Half the money, coming from bus lane fines, is ready and waiting in council coffers. Rather than waiting two years for clean air restrictions to come into force, councils can make a start virtually tomorrow. It also meets the requirements for use of traffic fines income on transport projects.

“And, if the councils complain that they need the bus lane income to fill in potholes and other roads projects, the ones in England already plan to make a surplus of £921 million from their parking charges.”

Should the UK have a diesel scrappage scheme? Tell us why in the comments below...

Recommended

Cyclists and pedestrians prioritised in upcoming Highway Code revisions
News

Cyclists and pedestrians prioritised in upcoming Highway Code revisions

Latest Highway Code changes look to strengthen the priority of walkers and cyclists over motorists
30 Jul 2021
UK road pricing: UK plan to plug the fuel duty gap
Motorway
News

UK road pricing: UK plan to plug the fuel duty gap

The Government’s plan to plug the £30bn gap in lost fuel duty is taking shape with bans on petrol and diesel car and trucks looming
13 Jul 2021
Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving
Tired driver
News

Four million people in the UK have fallen asleep while driving

Research produces worrying revelation that four million UK motorists have nodded off behind the wheel at some point
16 Jun 2021
Thatcham approved devices and crash tests explained
Joe Finnerty in Hyper G sled
Consumer news

Thatcham approved devices and crash tests explained

Thatcham studies crashes, rates alarms and sets insurance groups to help cut drivers’ costs. We find out how
11 May 2021

Most Popular

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition
Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition - front
Land Rover Defender

Land Rover unveils limited-run Defender Trophy Edition

Just 220 examples will be built to honour past Camel Trophy Land Rovers, all of which have been reserved for the North American market
30 Jul 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover
Volkswagen Taigo R-Line - front
Volkswagen Taigo

New 2021 Volkswagen Taigo coupe-SUV breaks cover

The new VW Taigo is a sportier, more aggressive looking version of the brand’s T-Cross and is aimed at lifestyle buyers
29 Jul 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6 boasts up to 328 miles of range

Kia reveals more specs for its bespoke electric car, with the EV6 offering long range and an 18-minute 80 per cent rapid recharge time
21 Jul 2021