I completely agree with the letter “Diesel causes big problems”, from Vicki Gilbert, of Tyne & Wear Public Transport Users Group (September 30).
The exposure of the cheating on diesel emissions tests must result in action to reduce dangerous air pollution.
The Government must spend any fines given to car manufacturers for this cheating, on improving public transport and reducing fares, and on walking and cycling facilities.
The promotion of diesel cars was a massive mistake and this has even been accepted by a former Labour science minister Lord Drayson. He said that diesel cars are “literally killing people” and has called for a scrappage scheme to allow diesel owners to switch to electric or hybrid vehicles.
This is right but a scrappage scheme must not reward cheating carmakers with new profits.
We urgently need an air pollution plan that works but we shouldn’t make the mistake of just focusing on cleaner vehicles.
We must take this opportunity to rethink how we travel by spending any fines issued to carmakers on ensuring everyone has access to convenient and cheaper public transport and on prioritising space for walking and cycling to help people to get some exercise as they travel.
It is not just polluted air that is killing people. Physical inactivity and road death and injury contribute to soaring NHS bills.
South Tyneside could have cleaner air and safer, less congested roads if we can see beyond simply replacing diesel cars with hybrids.
South Tyneside Green Party