UK government to clamp down on emissions cheating 

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The UK government is introducing new regulations to crack down on emissions cheating among carmakers through punitive fines.

Carmakers could face strict fines for using defeat-device technology to trick emissions testing

Carmakers could face strict fines for using defeat-device technology to trick emissions testing

Following the Dieselgate saga, the regulations could see manufacturers forced to pay up to £50,000 for each new vehicle found to be fitted with a so-called ‘defeat device’.

The Road Vehicles (Defeat Device, Fuel Consumption and Type Approval) Regulations 2018 will be laid in Parliament before coming into force on 1 July 2018.

The introduction of the regulations follows a government consultation – which saw overwhelming support for measures to crack down on emissions cheats – as well as ongoing calls for the Government to take action following the Volkswagen emissions scandal, which affected more than 1.2 million vehicles in the UK.

UK Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “There has rightly been a huge public outcry against car manufacturers that have been cheating on emissions standards. Their behaviour has been dishonest and deplorable.

“These tough new regulations are designed to ensure that those who cheat will be held to proper account in this country, legally and financially, for their actions.”

The new regulations come just weeks after the EU announced it’s referring six nations – including the UK – to the European Court of Justice over ongoing failures to tackle air pollution. This included issuing warnings to the UK as well as Germany Italy and Luxembourg for failing to take action against the millions of diesel cars with illegal defeat devices that allegedly cheated emissions tests.

Commenting on the news, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: “Every new car sold in the UK meets the strictest of regulations, governing everything from safety to emissions standards and how vehicles are tested and approved for sale. Government’s own testing of vehicles has consistently shown them to be compliant, and we are pleased government recognises that manufacturers have been rigorous in meeting the standards. There have always been severe penalties for any manufacturer involved in any kind of misconduct in the type approval process carried out here in the UK. Furthermore, all new cars meet the very latest and toughest-ever emission standards which, together with government powers to conduct in-service testing, should give consumers the confidence they are buying the cleanest and safest cars in history.”

Katie Nield, lawyer at environmental law group, ClientEarth, added: “While this is welcome, it’s something ministers should have done a long, long time ago, before Dieselgate. The EU is taking action against the UK for failing to deter car makers from breaking emissions testing laws. Their failure to do so already is illegal, so it’s a surprise to see this trumpeted as a ground-breaking new policy.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.