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

Good; I look forward to the Minister’s words of wisdom. Graham Stringer raises an interesting point—it is the hotspots in particular that we need to sort.

Road transport still counted for 34% of the UK’s NOx emissions in 2015, and the rate of reduction from the sector has slowed down because of the increased contribution from diesel vehicles. Turning to the Government’s plans, I was therefore disappointed that a scrappage scheme was not announced at the Budget. Of course, we are a little hopeful that something may be announced very soon. The Transport Secretary stated on “The Andrew Marr Show” in February that the Government were considering a scrappage scheme, but there have been no further announcements. I know that there are concerns about the costs of any scheme, and that is why it should be targeted and proportionate. It can be a key weapon in the Government’s armoury in tackling air pollution problems.

What is more, a scrappage scheme is very popular with the public. A recent survey of over 20,000 AA members showed that seven in 10 backed the policy, rising to three quarters among young people. A separate survey published by the think-tank Bright Blue just two weeks ago showed that 67% of Conservatives backed a scrappage scheme. Ministers, this is a policy with significant public support, especially as we move, dare I say it, towards a general election—that was not in my speech.

What would a scrappage scheme look like? First, it would mean replacement by ultra-low emission vehicles. Any potential scrappage scheme should have a stringent condition on the replacement vehicle. It should mandate users to swap their vehicles for an ultra-low emission vehicle or other forms of transport.