Archived press release
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The Government's car scrappage scheme - which comes into force today (Monday 18 May 2009) - will undermine confidence in the UK Government's determination to tackle climate change and develop a low carbon economy, Friends of the Earth warned.

A well-designed car scrappage scheme could have played a small part in cutting emissions from the transport sector - but the Government admits that the scheme "is primarily designed to boost the automotive industry" and "was not designed as a green measure."

Scrappage schemes in some other countries don't allow motorists to part-exchange old models for gas-guzzlers - but there is no such restriction on the UK scheme.

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said:

"This car scrappage scheme is a lost opportunity.

 "A well-designed scheme could have played a limited role in cutting emissions from our roads - but, unlike some other countries, the UK scheme doesn't prevent motorists part-exchanging an old small model for a brand new gas guzzler."

"The motor industry has consistently opposed tough measures to tackle climate change - it should be should be forced to do much more to cut emissions, not given tax-payer hand-outs."

"The Government should be tackling the recession by cutting energy waste and developing our huge renewable energy potential - this would create new jobs and business opportunities and help make Britain a world leader in developing a cleaner, safer future."


1.   The UK car scrappage scheme has no environmental criteria. A government note on the scheme says that "the scheme is primarily designed to boost the automotive industry and restore consumer confidence; it was not designed as a green measure."

2.   Friends of the Earth believes that a car scrappage scheme could play a limited role in reducing carbon emissions from transport, by getting some of the worst gas-guzzlers off the road. The subsidy should only be given for the purchase of the most fuel-efficient cars, with a real carbon saving between the car scrapped and the car bought; and it should be available to allow people to buy second-hand green cars as well as new ones.

3.   Car scrappage schemes with environmental objectives exist in other countries. For example:


The scrappage scheme introduced in December 2008 gives drivers an incentive of 1000 euros if they scrap a car more than 10 years old and buy a new car emitting less than 160 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km). If the new car emits less than 100g/km, it attracts an incentive of 2000 euros. According to the car industry, roughly one-fifth of new cars sold in France in January 2009 were part of the scrappage scheme.


The scrappage scheme applies to cars over nine years old. To qualify, drivers must purchase a new car emitting no more than 130g/km (for diesel) or 140g/km (for petrol cars).


The scheme applies to cars that are at least 10 years old. Drivers can get 1000 euros for scrapping a car that is between 10 and 15 years old, and 1250 euros for a car more than 15 years old. In each case, the new car purchased cannot emit more than 120g/km.


If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust