‘Diesel cars killing people’

Former science minister Lord Drayson has said that Tony Blairs labour government made a mistake in promoting diesel cars as they are now ‘killing people’.

Back in 2001, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown introduced lower vehicle tax for diesel cars, on the grounds that they were less polluting and this tax break still remains in place today.

Lord Drayson, whose own business invests in clean energy, now wants the current government to act to change driver behaviour again.

He served in several ministerial roles between 2005 and 2010 and was the science minister from 2008 to 2010 in Gordon Brown’s government.

His comments come after Volkswagen admitted to tampering with emissions readings, making its diesel vehicles appear to emit less pollution.

VW say around 11 million vehicles worldwide are affected, of which almost 1.2 million were in the UK.

The chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Mike Hawes commented, ‘It would be wrong to penalise all diesels. The latest diesel vehicles are the cleanest ever with particulate emissions all but eliminated by filters and sophisticated after treatment systems effectively reducing nitrogen oxide levels by 92% compared to earlier generations.’

‘Given that diesel cars emit 15-20% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than a petrol equivalent, they also make a significant contribution to climate change targets, an environmental challenge which cannot be ignored in this debate.’