Environment secretary Michael Gove is expected to announce an official government-led scrappage scheme for diesel cars in a bid to reduce air pollution by the beginning of next week.
The Times reports that the scrappage programme will be a “very, very targeted scheme” that will cost significantly less than previously mooted. A £500 million scrappage scheme was reportedly outlined three weeks ago, along with a further £250 million intended to reduce pollution in city centres.
But the initial scheme has now been watered down, following pressure not to penalise drivers of diesel vehicles who bought them following encouragement from previous governments.
The scrappage scheme could offer a cash subsidy when owners of diesel vehicles over 10 years old trade their cars in for a new, more environmentally-friendly vehicle, as well as incentives to reduce pollution. These could include a train season ticket, or even vouchers towards a new bike. The incentives are likely to be increased if you buy an electric car, while the scheme will probably be concentrated on urban areas with the worst pollution levels, including cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester.
A previous scrappage scheme was introduced in 2009 and saw 300,000 used vehicles traded in for new models. It proved controversial, with the government contributing £1,000 to each new car bought through the scheme, then manufacturers adding a further £1,000. It was intended to encourage people to trade old, polluting vehicles in for greener, modern alternatives, but critics argued that scrapping thousands of cars, many of which still had years of useful life, was actually more damaging to the environment. There was also no requirement for cars purchased through the scheme to be particularly ‘green’.
Although the scheme will be aimed at older vehicles (likely to be more than 10 years old), a number of manufacturers are offering software updates for EU5 diesel vehicles in a bid to make them greener.