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Calls for big tax rise on 4x4s

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has reacted with concern over a Friends of the Earth statement calling for massive increases in tax on 4x4 vehicles, accusing it of ignoring the bigger picture on CO2 emissions and ignoring the facts.

It says as well as average CO2 reductions of around 15% in six years, a modern 4x4 diesel emits just 7% of the particulate emissions of a 15-year-old saloon. Similarly on air quality NOx emissions, standards for the latest Euro 4 petrol 4x4s are six times as tight as those for a Euro 2 saloon, some of which are as little as five years old.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: “Berating drivers of 4x4 and SUV vehicles, is quite wrong. A full and informed debate on all efforts to cut CO2 across all industries would best serve the environment in the medium and long term.”

Friends of the Earth maintains that Britain has one of the worst records in Europe for minimising damage to the environment from cars, being 11th worst out of 15 EU nations for new car carbon emissions.

Campaigner Simon Bullock says: “The Government talks a good game on climate change but the reality is emissions have got worse since 1997. It’s time Gordon Brown put climate at the heart of his budget.”

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