Dearman: One year since review announced, action on red diesel still needed


A year since Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a review into the extent of cheap red diesel used in urban areas, zero emission tech experts at Dearman say proposals urgently need to be brought forward.

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The call for evidence was announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget on 8th March 2017, and it ran from 20th March to 30th June. As highlighted by a recent parliamentary question, ministers have still not set out their next steps.

Air quality campaigners say government subsidising diesel undermines the uptake of alternative zero-emission technologies that are affordable and available on the market – including technologies that government has itself invested in.

Dearman welcomed the call for evidence that was announced last March and said it was an opportunity for the Treasury to claw back millions in foregone tax revenue and support government plans to tackle air pollution. But it has expressed disappointment that nothing further has happened.

The company estimates that 26,000 refrigerated delivery trucks in the UK use red diesel to power their TRUs. Yet, with secondary engines subject to different and weaker regulation compared to main engines, these 26,000 emit particulate matter equivalent to 3.2 million Euro 6 diesel cars.

An independent poll commissioned by Dearman last year also revealed that two in three UK residents would back government ending diesel subsidies for secondary engines if it encouraged the uptake of cleaner technologies.

Commenting, Dearman CEO Scott Mac Meekin said:

“The Chancellor was right to launch the red diesel review last March, and one year on, we still need to see proposals brought forward urgently. It makes little sense that ministers commendably invest in a range of clean technologies, but at the same they lower the price of diesel to undercut these very technologies. Britain has a real air pollution crisis, and encouraging a switch to these clean technologies is desperately needed. But that cannot happen with regressive subsidy schemes for polluting fuels.”

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