Belfast Telegraph

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin hints at diesel tax rise

Diesel drivers could face tax rises in future, it has been suggested.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said it had been a mistake for former Labour chancellor Gordon Brown to slash taxes on diesel.

Mr Brown reduced duty on low-sulphur fuel in 2001, and i n April Mr McLoughlin said that decision had increased annual diesel car registrations in the UK from 3.45 million to 8.2 million.

The Transport Secretary told the Evening Standard: "We have got to look at that.

"It is something the Chancellor will need to look at in due course."

Asked if Mr Brown had made a mistake, Mr McLoughlin said: "Yes. In fairness they thought they were doing the right thing. The consequences of what they did was to bring about a reduction in carbon."

He added: "It's something that we've got to address. We are addressing it through the Government's air quality strategy, and by putting money into public transport like the Elizabeth line."

A Government report published in April showed that diesel cars being sold in the UK emit an average of six times more nitrogen oxide in real-world driving than the legal limit used in official tests.

The Department for Transport investigation found that all of the 37 top-selling diesel cars tested exceed the legal limit required for laboratory tests when driven for 90 minutes on normal roads.

But ministers insisted that no laws had been broken by the manufacturers as they are only required to meet the lab test regulations.

In March, think tank Policy Exchange claimed Vehicle Excise Duty for diesel vehicles should be increased by up to £800 to reflect the higher level of air pollution they cause, compared with petrol cars.

It said this could generate £500 million additional revenue each year, which could be used to fund a new diesel scrappage scheme.