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We are steadily progressing on making electric cars more attractive.

And no one minds having to pay a reasonable amount for a good, connected charging service network.

But if we are truly serious about cleaning up our emissions act, maybe we need to think along even broader lines in the medium term.

Slapping a 1pc VRT surcharge on new and imported diesels is only going to favour purchases of UK cars because the levy will be proportionally less on a cheaper vehicle.

The people driving the most polluting cars now are

mostly innocent victims of economics and taxation-regime change.

In other words, they are trapped in pre-2008 cars, paying heavy road tax and higher fuel consumption.

But many are unable to stretch to a new, or newer, motor, even though theirs is often the second family car that’s needed to do the dirty work.

We regularly get examples of it in queries to our Help Desk; people paying so much just to keep an old car on the road.

Is there a case to be made for a national scrappage deal for such cars at some stage in the near future?

The case FOR might include:

* Getting shut of heavy-polluting old vehicles as part of our lower-emissions

commitment;

* Some re-focusing on home-market buying rather than UK imports;

* Boosting sales of cleaner cars here, be they diesel, petrol or hybrid to improve air quality;

* Putting a large number of less-safe cars off the road;

* A potential financial boost overall to the Exchequer.

The case AGAINST might include:

* Letting the market find its own level: pre-2008 owners will have to change at some stage;

* There are several individual/brand ‘scrappage’ deals on the go at any given time;

* It could cost the Exchequer money, so why risk it?

* It might, probably would, exclude new diesels, which would not suit many current owners.

* Nothing should be done until Brexit is sorted.

I’m sure there are several other pros and cons.

But there are two important things it could do:

*Show that we are deadly serious about shifting older, polluting cars off our roads, thereby reducing C02 and NOx;

* And it could possibly slow the volume of used imports from the UK – if the Brexit outcome doesn’t.

Would you change your old car if there was a national scrappage scheme?

ecunningham@independent.ie

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