Greens accuse government of hypocrisy over response to VW emissions scandal

Greens have hit out at government hypocrisy over the VW emissions scandal, and will today propose new rules in the European Parliament which would be based on actual driving conditions. Greens say that Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, pressing for action at a European level for more accurate tests, is duplicitous, given the Conservative government have been seeking to water-down EU air pollution laws and the UK has consistently breached the EU Air Quality Directive. Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, said:

“How ironic that Mr McLoughlin is calling for EU action to restore public confidence in vehicle emissions when his own government has consistently failed to act in preventing the deaths of at least 23,000 people a year from air pollution. This government have continually sought to undermine European air pollution standards and the UK has repeatedly breached the EU Air Quality Directive through illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions – one of the chief pollutants from vehicles.”

Greens in the European Parliament are proposing an amendment to the draft law being voted on today in the Parliament’s Environment Committee which, if passed, would require vehicle emissions tests based on actual driving conditions. Dr Scott Cato concluded:

“It has long been an open secret that European carmakers have been ducking the EU’s rules to enable them to keep their highly polluting cars on the road. Air pollution is a silent but prolific killer in Europe and Greens have long argued for stricter rules on emissions and testing. It is high time the UK government and other EU governments stopped siding with car manufacturers in trying to weaken the rules. If the Tories are late converts to better testing and cleaner air across Europe that is to be welcome. But they better get their own house in order to prevent the thousands of deaths that occur due to air pollution in the UK each year.”