Thursday 15 November 2018

Is it time for scrappage deal to get rid of ‘dirty older’ cars?

Photo posed
Photo posed
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

We are steadily progressing on making electric cars more attractive.

And no one minds having to pay a reasonable amount for a good, connected charging service network.

But if we are truly serious about cleaning up our emissions act, maybe we need to think along even broader lines in the medium term.

Slapping a 1pc VRT surcharge on new and imported diesels is only going to favour purchases of UK cars because the levy will be proportionally less on a cheaper vehicle.

The people driving the most polluting cars now are

mostly innocent victims of economics and taxation-regime change.

In other words, they are trapped in pre-2008 cars, paying heavy road tax and higher fuel consumption.

 But many are unable to stretch to a new, or newer, motor, even though theirs is often the second family car that’s needed to do the dirty work.

We regularly get examples of it in queries to our Help Desk; people paying so much just to keep an old car on the road.

Is there a case to be made for a national scrappage deal for such cars at some stage in the near future?

The case FOR might include:

* Getting shut of heavy-polluting old vehicles as part of our lower-emissions

commitment;

* Some re-focusing on home-market buying rather than UK imports;

* Boosting sales of cleaner cars here, be they diesel, petrol or hybrid to improve air quality;

* Putting a large number of less-safe cars off the road;

* A potential financial boost overall to the Exchequer.

The case AGAINST might include:

* Letting the market find its own level: pre-2008 owners will have to change at some stage;

* There are several individual/brand ‘scrappage’ deals on the go at any given time;

* It could cost the Exchequer money, so why risk it?

* It might, probably would, exclude new diesels, which would not suit many current owners.

* Nothing should be done until Brexit is sorted.

 I’m sure there are several other pros and cons.

But there are two important things it could do:

*Show that we are deadly serious about shifting older, polluting cars off our roads, thereby reducing C02 and NOx;

* And it could possibly slow the volume of used imports from the UK – if the Brexit outcome doesn’t.

Would you change your old car if there was a national scrappage scheme?

ecunningham@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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