Car makers now face backlash over diesel emissions that are 'killing people'

The former science minister for Labour just slammed his own political party for making the mistake of promoting diesel cars.

He told the BBC that the cars are now “killing people” and demanded that the current Conservative-led government undo the work of the Tony Blair-led government of 1997 to 2007.

In 2001, the then British chancellor Gordon Brown gave tax cuts to diesel car owners because it was believed that these vehicles polluted less.

These tax cuts are still in place today. However in August last year, the European Commission sued Britain for breaching air pollution limits.

It claimed the breach came from diesel emissions which are to blame for tens of thousands of premature deaths annually.

The RAC Foundation this month revealed that demand for diesel in Britain rose 76% over the past two decades compared with a 46% decrease for petrol. In August, diesel prices fell for the first time since January 2010 to an average price of 113p per litre due to the collapse in oil prices. Petrol is around 115.24p.

The number of family cars that take diesel has jumped from 1.6 million in 1994, to 11 million in 2014.

However Lord Drayson, who served in ministerial roles between 2005 and 2010 as well as science minister from 2008 to 2010, said the reason for his alarm was because “we now have a much better understanding of the effects of diesel car emissions.”

He is calling for the Tory-led government to enact an incentive scrappage scheme which would allow diesel vehicle owners to switch to electric or hybrid vehicles without huge expense.

However, this may prove unpopular due to the rising number of family cars using diesel and the fact that vans, lorries and other commercial vehicles usually take this type of fuel. As of 2014, 474,000 of these vehicles took diesel.

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