As part of the UK-based inquiry into the fallout from the VW emissions scandal, the British Government’s vehicle certification arm will re-run tests on engines suspected of cheating regulations. In the first step towards real-driving tests having a significant impact on the emissions ratings of UK cars, the results from laboratory retests will also be compared to on-road driving emissions.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said in regards to the investigation: “The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), the UK regulator, is working with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that this issue is not industry wide. As part of this work they will re-run laboratory tests where necessary and compare them against real world driving emissions.”

“The Government takes the unacceptable actions of VW extremely seriously. My priority is to protect the public as we go through the process of investigating what went wrong and what we can do to stop it happening again in the future.”

The start of investigations into UK diesel cars comes on the back of a statement by Huw Irranca-Davies MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), saying: “I support the Government’s call for complete transparency across the EU automotive industry, a thorough investigation into the full extent of this scandal is needed. In the light of the revelations over VW in the US, customers here in the UK and across the EU need and deserve urgent reassurance that they have not been deceived by VW or other automotive manufacturers.

“But this is not simply an issue of customers being deceived. Air pollution from dangerous emissions in diesel vehicles is linked to thousands of deaths in the UK each year. We need to know from our government that the reported vehicle emissions in the UK are accurate, that no deception similar to that in the US has taken place, and that our emissions-testing regime is rigorous and secure.

“This will also add weight to the calls by the previous EAC committee to clean up the air in our city centres by introducing a network of low emission zones. The impact of poor air quality on health and mortality is already a scandal in the UK and in many of our major cities, and emissions from diesel vehicles are the prime culprit. The new Environment Audit Committee will discuss whether to examine these matters in the coming weeks.”

The UK is supported by the European Commission in carrying out investigations into emissions, in a statement by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. “Our message is clear: zero tolerance on fraud and rigorous compliance with EU rules. We need full disclosure and robust pollutant emissions tests in place.

“The commission invites all member states to carry out the necessary investigations at national level and report back. The commission is offering to facilitate the exchange of information between member states. We need to have a full picture of how many vehicles certified in the EU were fitted with defeat devices. We will discuss this matter in detail with the national Type Approval authorities in the coming days.

“Looking ahead, we count on Member States to swiftly agree on the final measures needed so that measurements of air pollutant emissions used for the delivery of a vehicle’s type approval reflect emissions in real driving conditions and cannot be fooled by deceitful applications. A new Real Driving Emission (RDE) test procedure will be phased in from early 2016, complementing the current laboratory based testing.

“But we still need to find agreement on the type approval treatment in case of major divergence between the results of the laboratory and real driving pollutant emissions tests. The agreement on this package, in addition to the already adopted RDE test procedures, will allow the EU to have ambitious and robust real driving emissions testing scheme in place.”

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