“TRL agrees that there is a clear need to reduce the amount of diesel cars on the UK’s roads, particularly in cities, and further accelerate the take up of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) that can help to reduce transport-related pollution and emissions.

“However, it will take a significant amount of time to transition a sufficiently large proportion of the UK car parc to ULEVs to have a substantial impact on pollution. Therefore, to yield a more immediate impact, we agree that the government should be considering short and medium term measures to accelerate removal of the most polluting vehicles, in addition to encouraging ULEV take up. Diesel scrappage schemes, ultra-low emission zones and revised taxes could all be used and would have a more immediate impact, especially in cites and urban areas. The longer-term aim should be to continue supporting ULEV take-up and targeted deployment of charging infrastructure.”

TRL’s Technical Manager, Air Quality and Emissions, Dr Tim Barlow, added:

“Diesels are very efficient, with low fuel consumption and low CO2 emissions. However, they can produce high quantities of NOx and PM, both of which are of concern to public health, making them unsuitable to urban environments, especially if they are mainly used for short, slow trips.

“Suddenly banning diesel cars and vans would cause hardship for many people and businesses, but there does need to be a plan in place that has plenty of lead time. For example, a good local scheme could be to discourage diesel cars and vans from the area by charging them more on top of any existing fees, such as parking charges or charges to enter an urban area (Congestion Charge; Clean Air Zones etc.).”

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