Diesel car owners alarmed at the growing threat of toxin charges and other anti-diesel air quality measures may be in line for help from the government, Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested during a trip to the Middle East.

“We will be producing a new air quality plan – we’ve been required to do that by the courts,” she said. “But I’m very conscious of the fact that past governments have encouraged people to buy diesel cars and we need to take that into account.”

Many are now speculating this could herald the launch of a diesel car scrappage scheme. Diesel car owners would be offered cash sums to swap their diesel models for newer, greener cars such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars. A previous scrappage scheme in 2009 offered buyers £2000 to swap a vehicle aged 10 years or older for a brand-new one: as the name suggests, the old car was scrapped.

It is now felt that this could be the quickest way to get the older, most polluting diesel cars off British roads quickly. Evidence is mounting that diesel cars are contributing to dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxides in city centres. 

Car emissions in the news:

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed an ultra-low emission zone will begin in April 2019, charging the most polluting cars an extra £12.50 to drive in central London. Petrol cars more than 13 years old (those that don’t meet Euro 4 emissions standards) will be hit with the charge, but the rules are much stricter for diesels – all cars more than four years old from April 2019 (models that aren’t Euro 6 compliant) will have to stump up the extra sum. It is on top of the existing £11.50 London Congestion Charge.

However, Theresa May has indicated she will advise local authorities outside London to take a less aggressive approach; it had been thought that a £20 a day ‘toxin charge’ could be rolled out by as many as 35 British towns and cities. This would affect 10 million diesel car owners.

Sources: BBC, Mailonline