A pollution tax of up to £800 should be put on sales on new diesel cars to clean up the air.
That’s the suggestion of think tank Policy Exchange, which believes that could help generate £500 million a year of additional revenue.
It says the money could be used to fund a new diesel car scrappage scheme with matched funding from car manufacturers, providing £2,000 grants to motorists who scrap old diesel cars or vans and buy a new lower-emission vehicle.
Policy Exchange claims the switch to petrol or alternatives such as hybrid or electric cars could lead to a “dramatic improvement” in air pollution levels.
The fresh call follows a similar proposal from a committee of MPs last year.
Richard Howard, Head of Environment and Energy at Policy Exchange, said: “London and many of the UK’s other major cities are facing an air pollution crisis, with residents exposed to illegal and unhealthy levels of NO2 pollution.
“If we are to clean up air pollution, then government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem and to promote a shift to alternatives. This needs to be done in a way which does not unduly penalise existing diesel drivers, who bought their vehicle in good faith and gives motorists sufficient time to respond.”
ELN has contacted the Treasury for a comment.
Last year Chancellor George Osborne announced changes to the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) which removed exemptions for low emission cars. From 2017, all cars expect electric vehicles will pay £140 a year.