Owners of diesel cars could get government help if UK cities introduce new charges to reduce pollution
Prime Minister Theresa May has hinted drivers who were encouraged to buy diesel cars by previous governments would get financial help.
With the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announcing plans to charge diesel motorists £24 a day to drive in London from April 2019, Mrs May said she was “very conscious” of the fact many people were encouraged to buy diesel cars by past governments.
Speaking during her tour of the Middle East, she said: “Decisions will be taken when we produce that plan.
“But I’m very conscious of the fact past governments have encouraged people to buy diesel cars and we need to take that into account when we look at what we do in the future.”
In 2001 a lower vehicle tax was introduced for diesel vehicles as they were considered to produce less carbon dioxide emissions and be more economical, however, experts now believe the vehicles emit high levels of nitrogen dioxide causing thousands of premature deaths in the UK.
The British government must now publish up-to-date clean air plans after it was ruled existing plans to meet EU-mandated air quality limits were insufficient.
Under Mr Khan’s plans any diesel car which is more than four years old in 2019, and any petrol cars aged over 13, will face the charge.
All but the newest diesel cars will face a £12.50 charge for driving in the proposed ultra low emissions zone under the new plans.
The most polluting cars will face a fee of £24 to drive through the centre of London with the congestion charge in operation during weekday hours.