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Tens of thousands of diesel vehicles on Havering’s roads despite looming ban

PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:06 16 May 2018

The UK government has announced proposals to ban sales of new diesel cars from 2040. Picture: Press Association.

The UK government has announced proposals to ban sales of new diesel cars from 2040. Picture: Press Association.

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Tens of thousands of diesel cars and vans are still clogging up Havering’s roads, despite drivers being encouraged to move away from them in favour of cleaner fuels.

Figures from the Department for Transport and the DVLA show that 36,339 new and existing diesel cars were registered in 2017 in the area - 32per cent of all cars.

There were also 11,953 registered diesel vans.

Despite the questions asked of diesel technology following 2015’s Volkswagen scandal, in which the German manufacturer was found to be cheating emissions tests, 1,003 more diesel-powered cars were registered in Havering last year than in 2016.

The UK government has since announced proposals to ban sales of new diesel cars from 2040, as well as exclusively petrol-powered vehicles. Around 40,000 premature deaths every year are linked to the country’s poor air quality.

It signals a remarkable turnaround in the popularity of diesel, with Gordon Brown introducing tax breaks on new diesel-powered vehicles as recently as 2001.

Of the 100 people that took part in the Recorder’s poll, 55pc of votes own a diesel powered car and don’t plan on changing to a petrol car in the future, while 19pc of voters do own a diesel powered car but plan to change this in the future.

Just 5pc of participants in the poll said they don’t own a diesel car because they are aware of the negative impact on the environment.

Adam Grace from Romford drives a secondhand small diesel van.

He told the Recorder: “I run a very small business and can’t afford to buy new vehicles. A couple of years ago I needed to replace my clapped out old van, I was looking for about four months and could not find one.

“So I had to buy diesel. Why aren’t the government insisting that car manufacturers only produce petrol vans?”

Alison Lloyd from Hornchurch added: “I agree regarding the desire to reduce pollution but for most a car is a big financial outlay.

“Paying a token incentive won’t work as the value of my car is negligible but the value of my car to me is the cost of getting a replacement.”

In total, 135,119 vehicles were registered in Havering last year, 420 fewer than in 2016.

There were 1,043,910 diesel cars and vans registered across London in 2017, and 16.8 million across the UK - an increase of 3pc on 2016.

“The number of registered petrol cars reached a peak in 2004 and then began to fall as more people opted for diesel, to the point where we now have 12.3 million on Britain’s roads,” said RAC spokesman Simon Williams.

“The tide has now begun to turn as motorists go back to petrol, or choose an alternatively fuelled vehicle, as a result of emissions from diesel vehicles being found to be harmful to health.”

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