Brake, the road safety charity, is urging the Government to make sure that there are no delays to the implementation of new so-called real world car emissions tests which are scheduled to begin in 2017.
The charity has made the call after the results of an investigation run by the Department for Transport found that levels of pollution to be much higher on the road than they are in the laboratory in 37 separate vehicle tests. Not a single model met the EU lab NOx limit in real-world testing and in some cases, the emissions were 12 times higher than the recommended level.
The tests revealed that most vehicles perform very differently in laboratory testing than they do in real life on-the-road driving conditions. This is because of the widespread use of engine management systems which kick in to prevent engine damage in certain circumstances, but can lead to much higher emissions in real world temperature conditions than the cooler temperatures in the approved lab test.
The news comes in the same week as Mitsubishi motors has been found to have incorrectly measured fuel efficiency data across a range of its models and may lead to a spate of new claims against the vehicle manufacturer.
Last year, a number of firms announced that they were preparing mass litigation cases against VW, for its part in hiding the true level of emissions in some of its vehicles.
Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “I want the government to ensure that testing is rigorously enforced and tough action taken when vehicles do not make the grade.
“If car manufacturers are serious about protecting the environment they must cut the poison currently being pumped out of their vehicles. The World Health Organisation describes air pollution as a public health emergency and estimates that one in eight worldwide deaths (seven million premature deaths a year) are due to air pollution, with transport being a major contributory factor.
“Consumers are fast losing confidence with car manufacturers. Many drivers believe they have been cheated into buying diesel vehicles.”