Car manufacturers will face fines of up to £50,000 per car if they are found to have installed emissions defeat devices, as part of new legislation announced by the Government.
In a backlash against the dieselgate scandal, which saw Volkswagen Group hit the headlines in September 2015, the new regulations have been brought in following a Government consultation, which saw overwhelming support for measures to crack down on emissions cheats.
“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,” said Transport Minister Jesse Norman.
Following revelations in 2015 that Volkswagen had been using software which caused their car engines to behave differently during emissions tests, the Department for Transport tested a range of the most popular diesel vehicles in the UK. It found that no other manufacturer tested was using a similar strategy to Volkswagen, reported AM’s sister title, Fleet News.
Volkswagen reimbursed the British taxpayer £1.1 million for the costs of this programme.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, 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.”
In September fuel consumption and emissions tests will adopt the EU’s Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) in an attempt to deliver more accurate readings for consumers than the previous NEDC test regime.
The new tests are conducted at different temperatures, altitudes and speeds to more closely mimic real-world driving and will come into force on September 1.