United Kingdom plans unlimited fines for vehicle makers cheating diesel pollution tests

Galtero Lara
Febrero 2, 2018

Ministers will‎ launch a consultation today aimed at closing a "huge hole in the law" that allowed the German vehicle giant to escape prosecution in this country.

Today's consultation will also propose a series of other new measures created to boost consumer protection and improve air quality.

The initiative, led by Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, is created to allow the United Kingdom to pursue action against cars that it deems illegal, even if they have been type approved in a different country.

Launching a consultation on the measures, Britain's Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: "We continue to take the unacceptable actions of Volkswagen extremely seriously, and we are framing new measures to crack down on emissions cheats in future".

Mr Norman wants the new regulations to extend to any British importer who brings a non-compliant vehicle or product to the UK.

Firms found guilty could face unlimited fines, depending on the scale of the offence.

The beleaguered company came under fresh fire last month after it was revealed it helped to fund experiments in which monkeys and humans breathed in vehicle fumes for hours at a time.

They included new requirements to give car-buyers full information from new more stringent emissions tests and fresh moves to tighten up the rules on cars previously held as "stock".

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‎In future, fuel economy figures for new cars will be subjected to "more rigorous" tests.

Under the proposals, which would go further than current European Union rules, manufacturers who deployed the specialist software to avoid pollution tests would face the full force of the law.

Ministers faced heavy criticism at the time, with the Commons transport committee said the Government had "let down" consumers.

At the time of the scandal, the then-transport minister Patrick McLoughlin said the company "had behaved in an appalling way" and deserved to be severely punished.

A government source said the scandal had exposed "a huge hole in the law".

The VW scandal affected 11 million cars worldwide and 1.2 million in the UK. But this cost the firm just £1.1 million.

The Government's push comes just months after Environment Secretary Michael Gove unveiled plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040.

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