Wednesday 20 March 2019

New emission figures published today highlight 'need to ban older, dirtier UK diesels'

Renault's Paddy McGee is convinced there should be a ban on all car imports that are not Euro 6 compliant
Renault's Paddy McGee is convinced there should be a ban on all car imports that are not Euro 6 compliant
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

The drive to have 'dirty diesel' imports banned takes on an additional dimension today as figures comparing new-car and used-car emissions are highlighted again.

Renewing the call for the government to intervene and clamp down on older diesels coming in from the UK, Renault's Paddy Magee says the current scenario is self-destructing.

The country operations director for the Renault Group quotes a simple set of numbers to underline the damage that many in the industry say is being done.

Mr Magee says that last year Irish new-car emissions (CO2) averaged 113grammes per kilometre (131g/km).

In contrast, the figures purport to show that used-car imports averaged 121grammes per kilometre (121g/km) - or eight grammes more for every kilometre driven.

On the figures, he comments: "But worse (was the fact that) almost 30,000 used cars aged six years or more were imported - with an average CO2 of 140grammes per kilometre (140g/km)."

He is convinced there should be a ban on all imports that are not Euro 6 compliant.

Generally speaking that would embrace cars that were first registered on, or before, 2014.

His call adds to growing demands for action from some key industry figures, particularly James McCarthy of Nissan.

A government spokesman has said they are in the process of looking at all aspects of motoring in the context of public health and Exchequer revenue. The latter is expected to become ever more relevant as more people buy lower-tax electric or electrified cars.

Mr Magee told Motors: "While the current levels of imports (more than 100,000 a year) are a temporary Brexit-driven issue, they are unsustainably high for the motor industry, and environmentally for the state."

He says the challenge for Ireland to meet transport emissions targets is "extremely difficult" as we face a carbon tax and potential restrictions to curb levels.

"In this context, importing higher-emitting used cars doesn't make sense and is moving us backwards."

New cars have been moving toward a 50pc diesel/petrol split over the past couple of years but the used imports are more than 75pc diesel.

"We must highlight this madness of allowing environmental dumping in Ireland from another member state."

He says the motor industry will be blamed and "potentially burdened" with additional restrictions if we cannot meet our emissions targets. "Yet it is being made impossible at current levels of older imports."

He concludes: "The state needs to protect our own environment and prevent those more polluting cars from being dumped here. We believe the state does not have to accept such high-polluting cars and should only allow those that meet the highest standards to be re-registered in Ireland."

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