Friends of the Earth has officially written to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to complain of adverts promoting services to remove diesel particulate filters from cars.
And, the campaign group is also calling on the government to ban outright the practice of removing DPFs, which drivers may seek to do in the aim of improving a vehicle’s fuel economy.
It is legal to offer services to remove or replace diesel particulate filters (DPFs), which are fitted to diesel cars in order to cut down on emissions of particulate matter from a diesel car’s exhaust.
However, while offering and advertising DPF-removal services is legal, it is illegal to drive a car without a DPF fitted.
Soot build-up in the filters, which can affect vehicle performance, leads some drivers opting to remove the filter, making cars illegal for road use.
“The absurd loophole remains whereby unscrupulous garages can remove a pollution filter but it’s only the driver, once they’ve turned the engine on, who is breaking the law” – Oliver Hayes, Friends of the Earth
Stricter checking of DPFs on cars was introduced as part of MOT testing in early 2014, requiring garages to check for a DPF on inspection of the exhaust system. Any car found without a DPF fitted as standard will automatically fail its MOT (see AirQualityNews.com story).
Nevertheless, according to Friends of the Earth, adverts for garages offering DPF-removal services are “widely hosted” online – but often fail to mention that removing these devices can render cars illegal to drive.
The ASA code of practice sets out principles stating that marketing communications should be ‘legal, decent, honest and truthful’, but Friends of the Earth argues many DPF adverts are in fact in breach of these standards.
Section 3.3 of the ASA code also states that marketing communications ‘must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information’, while section 4.4 states that such communications should also ‘contain nothing that is likely to condone or encourage violence or antisocial behaviour’.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Oliver Hayes said: “We’re asking the ASA to clamp down on those advertising these dubious practices and help prevent more deadly pollution hitting our children’s lungs. But we’re also calling on the Government to make it illegal to remove these pollution filters in the first place. Unless they do, the absurd loophole remains whereby unscrupulous garages can remove a pollution filter but it’s only the driver, once they’ve turned the engine on, who is breaking the law.”