UK facing top European Court over air pollution should act as catalyst for punishing emissions cheaters like Volkswagen
The fact that the UK is facing being taken to the top European Court over air pollution should act as catalyst for punishing emissions cheaters like Volkswagen.
The UK is looking at fines that could run into the millions of pounds and has been referred to the European Court of Justice by the European Commission over failures to maintain vital pollution targets.
The Commission has reportedly issued “letters of formal notice” which may then lead to formal action against the UK.
Several breaches in the UK
It’s understood that some 16 urban areas in the UK that includes London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Glasgow have breached car pollution limits. Not only are there breaches, but the UK is also accused of failing to have “effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalty systems in place to deter car manufacturers from breaking the law”.
And that’s where the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal become relevant.
In stark contrast to the US
In the US, VW has been punished with fines that have amounted to billions of dollars when combined with compensation claims as well. The only way to properly punish a private entity like Volkswagen, whose purpose is of course to make money, is to hit them where it hurts: in the pocket.
If the UK had a more effective system of punishing car manufacturers like VW for cheating emissions testing, we could ensure that fair and appropriate punishments are administered.
In response to the news, a senior clean air campaigner for Greenpeace has said the position is “embarrassing”:
“Once again, the UK government is being dragged to court to explain its failure to protect people’s health from illegal air pollution. This would be embarrassing for any administration, let alone one that aspires to environmental leadership.”
We must ensure that Volkswagen is not allowed to get away with their deceitful behaviour. Our firm is on the Steering Committee leading the fight for justice here in England and Wales in the High Court Action against VW for their defeat device scandal.
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