Government fails on car scrappage as nearly half of drivers say they would go green

YouGov poll shows nearly half of car-owning British adults (45%) would be likely to change their car to a less polluting model – given government-backed financial assistance. 

The poll for Friends of the Earth shows British drivers could be in favour of programmes such as a diesel car scrappage scheme. 

Diesel cars, once promoted by the government as being better for the environment, are in fact the most toxic polluters on our roads.

To protect our health, the government must step up and begin phasing diesel out of the transport mix. As our research reveals, we now know that – with the right support – drivers would be keen to change too.

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No support for car scrappage, as air pollution is sidelined

Disappointingly, however, the Chancellor sidelined air pollution in last week’s Budget and failed to produce a single measure to meaningfully deal with air pollution and its effects.

Every year air pollution causes an estimated 40,000 early deaths in the UK. It also threatens children’s development, worsens conditions such as asthma and can cause lung cancer.

Friends of the Earth air pollution Campaigner Oliver Hayes said:

“The Chancellor did nothing to protect our children from the twin threats of toxic air pollution and climate change.

“With thousands of people dying prematurely from air pollution every year it’s astonishing that he didn’t act on dirty diesel.

“A car scrappage scheme aimed at the most polluting vehicles, paid for by a one-off charge on new diesel cars, would have been an important step forward in tackling this public health crisis.”

Every year air pollution causes an estimated 40,000 early deaths in the UK
Every year air pollution causes an estimated 40,000 early deaths in the UK

Air quality plans must include vehicle scrappage scheme

This spring, ministers are due to unveil their latest plan for tackling the UK’s pollution, after the high court ruled existing plans illegally weak.

Friends of the Earth is urging the government to offer a far-reaching, immediate plan to address the root cause of air pollution.

As part of this plan we are calling for:

  • Clean Air Zones in all areas failing limits for NO2, for all vehicle types, in place by 2018,
  • government commitment to phasing out diesel by 2025 • road tax changes to disincentivise diesel
  • a carefully-designed diesel vehicle scrappage scheme, providing assistance for clean vehicles and alternatives to driving
  • a new Clean Air Act fit for the 21st Century to help safeguard existing legal protections and move us towards World Health Organisation recommended levels.

Join our campaign for clean air

As part of campaigning for cleaner air, Friends of the Earth has launched an ambitious citizen science project to measure air pollution and help the public find out about the air they’re breathing.

Our Clean Air Kits enable people to test air quality where they live, as well as providing tips on avoiding air pollution and supporting the fight for clean air. Join the campaign and order yours today.

Order your Clean Air Kit

Diesel cars are most toxic polluters on our roads