Carmakers will face fines of up to £50,000 if they supply
vehicles designed to cheat emissions tests to the UK, the government has announced.
Under new regulations, manufacturers could be forced to
pay up to £50,000 for each new vehicle found to be fitted with a so-called
The rules have been brought in following a government
consultation which saw overwhelming support for measures to crack down on
emissions cheats that were uncovered with the Volkswagen Group scandal.
Had the legislation been in place when the scandal broke
in 2015, which Volkswagen admitted involved one million of its diesel cars sold
in the UK being fitted with emissions-cheating software, the company could have
been fined as much as £50 billion. Globally the software was fitted in 11
million Volkswagen cars.
The government’s move comes following the publication of its
Air Strategy, which set out a range of measures to tackle air
pollution. Additionally, the government says it will outline further steps as
part of its ‘Road to Zero Strategy’, which will set out how the UK will
transition to zero emission vehicles.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “There has rightly
been a huge public outcry against car manufacturers that have been cheating on
emissions standards. Their behaviour has been dishonest and deplorable.
“These tough new regulations are designed to ensure that
those who cheat will be held to proper account in this country, legally and
financially, for their actions.”
The Road Vehicles (Defeat Device, Fuel Consumption and
Type Approval) Regulations 2018 will be laid in Parliament before coming into
force on 1 July, 2018.
Following revelations in 2015 that Volkswagen had been
using software which caused its car engines to behave differently during
emissions tests, the Department for Transport tested a range of the most
popular diesel vehicles in the UK. It found that no other manufacturer tested
was using a similar strategy to Volkswagen. The manufacturer reimbursed the
British taxpayer £1.1 million for the costs of the programme.