ENVIRONMENTALISTS have welcomed today’s report of the decline in new diesel car sales.
Paul Morozzo, Greenpeace UK’s clean air campaigner, claimed consumers were ‘sending a clear message to the car industry’ that it must move on from ‘polluting diesel’.
He said: ‘Diesel cars have been fuelling a major air pollution crisis that has made our cities’ air toxic and harmful to breathe.
‘Electric vehicles and hybrids are better for both air quality and the climate, and if the UK car industry fails to invest in the technologies that consumers want then they will be left behind in the race for this trillion-dollar industry.’
Ministers unveiled court-mandated plans for meeting European Union limits on nitrogen dioxide in July 2017 after a long-running battle with activist legal outfit ClientEarth.
ClientEarth’s chief executive, James Thornton, said: ‘It’s no surprise that diesel sales were down last year. Clean air zones, which charge the dirtiest vehicles to enter the most polluted areas, are on their way and people are increasingly aware of that.’
He urged the government and the car industry to ‘help people to move from dirty diesels’.
AA president Edmund King warned that the ‘demonisation of diesel’ had resulted in an ’emissions own goal’ as some motorists had switched to petrol cars, which emit more CO2.
He said: ‘We need some joined-up clarity across national and local government on fuel choices rather than knee-jerk, money-making schemes popping up all over to penalise diesel drivers.’
James Hind, chief executive of car-buying website Carwow, said: ‘Consumers have decided to keep their hands in their pockets until guidance is clear.
‘There is a distinct lack of certainty, in particular around the future of traditionally fuelled cars, and this is increasingly evident in the behaviour we are seeing on our website.
‘Interest in diesel cars has fallen by a third as consumers struggle to make sense of the conflicting information being presented by the government.’
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