A campaign to combat the demonisation of diesel has been launched by the UK's leading motor industry association.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), along with BMW, Ford, and Jaguar Land Rover, believe fears over diesel are misplaced.

The campaign comes in response to several efforts to curb diesel cars due to the harmful pollutants they produce.

In December, the Mayor of Paris called for diesel cars to be banned from the French capital by 2020.

At the same time, the Environmental Audit Committee argued that air pollution was a "public health crisis" and said diesel was now seen as "the most significant driver of air pollution in our cities".

The Committee called for the Government to pay for diesel drivers to upgrade their engines or for a national scrappage scheme to take the most polluting vehicles off the road.

Last summer London Mayor Boris Johnson floated plans to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in which drivers of diesel cars would be charged about £10 to drive into central London in addition to the existing £10 Congestion Charge. Newer diesel vehicles that adhere to the Euro-6 emission standard would be exempt.

However, Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT, said in a statement "Today's diesel engines are the cleanest ever and the culmination of billions of pounds of investment by manufacturers to improve air quality."

He added "Bans and parking taxes on diesel vehicles therefore make no sense from an environmental point of view."

Authors: Howard Tilney

Published: 17 Mar 2015


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