Five years on from the Dieselgate scandal and consumers still remain in the dark over emission manipulation.
In September 2015, there was international scandal after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that many Volkswagen cars had a ‘defeat device’ in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, and could change the performance to improve results.
However, despite this scandal, according to ClientEarth, there are still an estimated 8.5 million diesel vehicles in the UK that emit levels of nitrogen oxides several times higher the legal limit.
Based on this, the environmental lawyers have issued legal requests to national car regulators in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands to ask why millions of ‘dirty diesel’ vehicles are still being allowed on our roads.
The request challenges the lack of publicly available information within the approval system, which ClientEarth says continues to be rigged in favour of the car industry instead of the health of people.
The environmental lawyers have said that keeping this information confidential goes against transparency laws.
According to the lawyers, this lack of transparency is another reason why the UK Government should be bringing forward the end date for the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 to 2030.
ClientEarth lawyer Irmina Kotiuk said: ‘Dieselgate should have put an end to the cosy stitch-up between manufacturers and national authorities and forced them to be fully transparent to regain consumersâ€™ trust.
‘But the public are still in the dark about how polluting their car is and the impact this has on their health.’
‘Consumers have a right to know whether their car meets legal emissions limits. When carmakers manipulate vehicle emissions, authorities should not block the public from checking the consequences for their health and their wallets. Protecting the health of millions of EU citizens should be the authoritiesâ€™ number one priority.’
ClientEarthâ€™s UK clean air lawyer Katie Nield said: ‘In the wake of Covid-19, people are more aware than ever of the harm air pollution is causing to them and their children and they want to see action.
‘The UK Government has been breaking legal limits for air pollution for over 10 years now and we cannot wait until 2035 for a ban on the sale of the polluting vehicles that are the root of our illegally dirty air. People want and need help from the government now to move to cleaner forms of transport.’
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