The motor industry today called on Government to recognise the environmental benefits offered by modern diesel engines and end the discrimination against it.
Speaking at a press briefing in London, Christopher Macgowan, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said 'It is just plain wrong to discriminate against diesel given the potential environmental benefits of ultra-low sulphur fuel, the rapid technological development of low emission diesel engines and the improved fuel efficiency that they offer.
'We do not favour one fuel type over another, rather they should be given a level playing field and their benefits made plain so consumers are given a free choice.'
A commonly held belief is that diesel is not a clean fuel, and poses serious health risks. There are no scientific or medical studies that show diesel emissions pose a significant risk in causing harm to humans.
Dr Michael Spallek, Chief Medical Officer, Volkswagen Hanover, said today 'In life we face many risks to our health, some risks we can calculate, others we are still trying to understand. There are health risks attached to vehicle emissions, but there is a large difference between popular perception and the known facts.'
In the UK there has been a decline in diesel car registrations from a peak of nearly 23 per cent in 1994 to around 14 per cent last year. This is against a rising trend in mainland Europe where diesel cars now account for over 33 per cent of new car registrations.
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