DIESEL DEBATE 1
u I thought your Editorial in the June issue fell a little short of your usual sensible standards.
The Government’s decision some years ago to associate car taxation with CO2 emissions was a worthwhile objective. The link between CO2 and climate change had been established and motorised transport is a significant contributor to the UK’S CO2 emissions. By default, this policy incentivised more economical diesel cars and increased the proportion of diesel vehicles on our streets.
More recently, evidence has emerged regarding the toxicity of diesel emissions, including smaller more harmful particulates emitted from newer, supposedly cleaner vehicles, as well as other health impacts. In addition, car manufacturers have not been meeting successively advancing emissions standards, which was not envisaged. It is in this context that the Government is now being encouraged to review its position.
In truth, neither petrol- nor diesel-powered cars are good for the environment, but a new balance may now need to be struck to help carbon reduction and air quality.
Thirty years ago, lead additive was banned in petrol following a proven link between lead and health issues, the adverse effects of which can still be measured. No one would argue for this practice today. In time, our reliance on diesel combustion in streets, towns and cities may also be viewed as undesirable. J Hepton Martyn Knowles responds: Being a life-long asthma sufferer, I’m all for cleaning up the atmosphere, but my point was that, to me, scrapping something that is still viable to use and passes annual MOT emission targets, isn’t the way forward. Let’s not forget that to replace it with a new model involves producing loads of manufacturing CO2, and that’s before the engine fires up for the first time.
Many more vehicles are scrapped by owners these days, mainly due to the high cost of replacing certain components – DPFS, DMFS, electrical sensors, timing chains, etc – being higher than the vehicle’s value.