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Scotland calls for UK taskforce to tackle VW scandal

Scottish Environment Secretary expresses ‘outrage and deep concern’ that VW ‘may have deceived Scottish consumers’

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has called for a UK-wide task force to be set up in response to Volkswagen’s admission that it installed software in some diesel cars in order to manipulate emissions tests.

Scottish Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead

Scottish Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead

Mr Lochhead MSP spoke yesterday (October 4) of his “outrage and deep concern” over the VW scandal, which the firm revealed last week has affected 1.2 million vehicles in the UK alone, including VW brands such as Audi, SEAT and Skoda.

The German carmaker estimates that as many as 106,000 of these affected vehicles are in Scotland.

As a result, Mr Lochhead has written to the UK Transport Minister, calling for the establishment of a UK-wide taskforce to look at the environmental impact of any breaches of emissions testing regulations and “practical steps that could be taken to address air quality issues”.

He has also asked that the matter is raised at EU level “at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Mr Lochhead said: “I have discussed the situation with the UK Transport Minister and expressed my outrage and deep concern that the company may have deceived Scottish consumers and damaged our environment. Consumer confidence is likely to be shattered and customers and governments alike must have answers.

“The Scottish Government has already been in direct contact with Volkswagen and we await their response to establish the scale of the issue in Scotland, seek assurances that customers are informed as soon as possible, and to clarify that the manufacturer will take wider responsibility for the environmental impact.

“An immediate priority is to clarify the legal remedies available for consumers and governments. Given the regulatory role of the UK Government, and the implications for all administrations, it makes sense to have a co-ordinated response across these islands.”

Department for Transport

The Department for Transport has announced that the Vehicle Certification Agency will investigate emissions testing in the UK in order to “ensure that the issue is not industry-wide”.

However, there have been calls for the investigation to be carried out by a fully-independent body rather than a government agency, and for it to probe whether DfT knew about VW’s emissions test cheating more than a year before the scandal came to light last month.

Meanwhile, speaking at AirQualityNews.com’s annual conference in Birmingham last week, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by any other companies other than Volkswagen and also reaffirmed that “the latest diesels are the cleanest ever” (see AirQualityNews.com story).

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