John McLellan: Edinburgh’s double whammy for diesel

Diesel car sales have plunged following the VW emissions scandal (Picture: PA)
Diesel car sales have plunged following the VW emissions scandal (Picture: PA)
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Like many people, when we bought our new car four years ago a significant part of the decision was fuel economy but also the tax benefits associated with low emissions, and so we bought a VW with a 1.6 diesel engine.

Despite the VW emissions scandal, the car’s annual service (by an independent garage, not a VW dealer) shows the pollution output remains reassuringly low and the 71 mpg consumption is comparatively light on the wallet.

But there is no denying the tide has firmly turned against diesels because of the higher levels of toxic nitrous oxides they produce, even though pollution levels of well-maintained diesels are comparable to petrol cars.

READ MORE: Diesel car drivers in the Capital to be charged more for parking permits

The latest figures show new diesel car sales are 40 per cent down and second-hand values are taking a parallel hammering. Unless the government introduces some sort of scrappage scheme, the best option for most diesel owners is just to run them into the ground.

But Edinburgh council is set to introduce a double-whammy with a diesel parking permit surcharge. So stick or twist you lose either way if you own a diesel car, can’t afford to trade it in and need a permit. I’m lucky enough to have a driveway so it won’t affect me, but will it really help accelerate already declining diesel sales?

No wonder 43 per cent of 5,000 people who responded to a consultation were opposed, but in the tradition of pick-n-mix surveys, the views of people who disagree with the administration are seemingly irrelevant.

READ MORE: Motorists face £20 ‘pollution charge’ to drive in Edinburgh by 2020