Diesel Vehicle Scrappage Scheme — [Mr Christopher Chope in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 19th April 2017.

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Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 9:30 am, 19th April 2017

I actually converted one of my own vehicles to gas. Usually, converting a vehicle is something like between £1,500 and £2,000, so it is not ridiculous money to convert to gas. All the bus companies and taxi firms will do all the costings and will know firmly how much it is. As I said, a certain amount of help is therefore needed to help the commercial sector to convert to the new world. Otherwise they will not do it because of the economics.

The Government have twice lost in court over their failure to tackle poor air quality. In November, the High Court forced the Government to come up with a new, better air quality plan. The draft will be published imminently—by 24 April at the latest—so we may hear something on that matter from the Minister this morning. Already, from this October, pre-2006 diesels and petrol vehicles will face a £10 charge when they enter London at peak periods. It is expected that diesel drivers will be hit hard. Separately, the Budget Red Book stated that the Government would consider appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles ahead of the 2017 Budget. Diesel owners who bought their vehicles in good faith are expected to be hit with higher bills.

Of course, I understand the need for tough action. These new measures are the stick to reduce diesel vehicle numbers, but what about the carrot? Where are the incentives to encourage drivers to move away from diesel? The Prime Minister recently said,

“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”.

That is where the case for a targeted diesel scrappage scheme comes in; it perfectly complements the Government’s clean air zone plans.

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