M1 motorway
The M1 motorway Reuters

The heinous and unfair chronic demonisation of drivers continues to be ignored by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). No one in central government is taking ownership of improving air quality.

Motorists are simply lucrative tax income pawns in a stalemated political chess game orchestrated by Client Earth. This well-funded group have used questionable health data to terrify drivers and have made millions of vehicles unsalable.

Defra's skilfull passing of the emissions buck to local authorities in their Air Quality Plan now gives Councils permission to ban diesels and implement pointless toxic taxes at will.

Low cost-effective solutions are here now. FairFuelUK demands they are implemented before any punitive knee jerk tax hikes are considered.

In a poll of 25,000 drivers, 91.5% want the Government to adopt them, with only 0.07% believing tax hikes are the best option. Michael Gove is in dereliction of his duty to the public, by not looking at these recognised ways to lower NOx, particulates and improve MPG (Miles Per Gallon).

Decade after decade, 80% of the electorate has been subjected to fiscal exploitation, at levels not seen anywhere else in the world. This unspoken hard-working majority provides £40bn to the economy each year, yet gains trifling value and certainly no recognition in return.

UK's drivers are seen merely as compliant cash cows and even sadder, myopically portrayed by very well financed politically driven environmentalist groups, as prime contributors to the decline in our health.

With only 11% of emissions in London attributed to cars, why should hard-working drivers, families, white van man and small businesses be held responsible for 89% of the issue and be asked to pay for the austerity policies of the last 7 years too, when there are other proven and more effective ways to improve air quality?

Of course, we absolutely need to clean our air but we must apply real numbers and real science to this debate. The gullible media, in true tradition, has taken a badly phrased headline figure from an official report and allowed it to terrify millions of consumers. If we can't even accurately understand the numbers what hope have we to really improve our air quality?

Bad science won't help us clean our air. The diesel fleet has already been devalued by £35bn because of this reckless publicity against drivers. 15.5 million diesel owners already pay the highest fuel duty in the world. It would be scandalous to hoist more levies onto them any further.

It seems no political party is willing to stand up for 37 million drivers. None of the parties placed any positive encouragement in their political manifestos for this vital part of the economy. But when dubious scientific evidence is presented, the Mayor of London opportunistically and enthusiastically leaps to tax drivers off the roads.

And there's the thing, in our huge survey of 25,000 drivers, 4 out of 5 diesel drivers tell us that toxic charges will not stop them using their vehicles, so any tax hikes will be pointless in lowering emissions.

8 out of 10 diesel owners will stay using diesel, with only 0.7% moving to electric, 3.8% hybrid and 5.1% petrol. 93% want the Government to invest the same amount of money as HS2 into new roads across the whole of the UK to reduce congestion, improve air quality and to benefit the economy.

Banning new diesel and petrol car sales by 2040 will cost trillions to consumers and the economy. It is inevitable that carbon based fuels will be phased out to favour cleaner fuels, but to do it as a cliff edge in 20 years is naïve and ill thought out. Better to phase in new fuel technologies to work effectively and be supported, without a target date to terminate diesel and petrol. What is needed is a long term strategic plan that incentivises drivers to move to cleaner fuels.

Howard Cox is the founder of the FairFuelUK Plan campaign.