Plans are being drawn-up which could see diesel drivers in certain areas of the country handed a £2,000 incentive to switch into a new vehicle which produces fewer harmful emissions.
The Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered officials to outline details of a scrappage scheme in an effort to rid the roads of the worst-polluting diesel vehicles as part of a government clean air strategy due to be published this month, the Financial Times has reported.
A state subsidy of between £1,000 and £2,000 is expected to form part of the deal, with manufacturers also called upon to contribute to incentives, it has been suggested.
Further details of the scheme are expected to be published in the government’s clean air strategy on April 24.
It is likely that scrappage scheme incentives will be restricted to motorists living in areas of the country which are worst-hit by emissions issues and plans will be carefully drawn up in an attempt to limit anger among those who were incentivised to buy diesel vehicles by previous governments.
Speaking on a recent visit to the Middle East, Mrs May said: “I'm very conscious of the fact that past governments have encouraged people to buy diesel cars and we need to take that into account when we look at what we do in the future."
The government’s plans to take many older diesel vehicles off the road come after the European Commission sent the UK government a final warning for failing to address repeated breaches of air pollution limits in London and 15 other areas in February.
Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain were all served with a final notice from Brussels over levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant from diesel cars and other sources that officials say caused nearly 70,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013.