diesel car
The UK government is looking into ways to reduce emissions and improve air quality Reuters

The UK government is considering a scrappage scheme for diesel cars in order to help reduce emissions and air pollution, according to reports. The Department for Transport is said to be working with Defra to come up with a scheme that would offer people cashback or a discount on low-emission cars if they trade in old vehicles, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Talks are said to be under way with the Treasury, with the scheme looking to target areas in the UK where air pollution is at its highest.

The reports arrive as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said high pollution levels in the UK are something that MPs "have to deal with now".

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday (2 February 2017), he said: "We have to find the right way to migrate the nature of the cars on our roads and the vehicles on our roads to a point where they cause much less of a pollution problem than they do at the moment."

It also came as London's Westminster Council introduced a 50% surcharge for parking diesel cars. Grayling had previously told the BBC: "There is no question that in the future we are going to have to move to lower emission vehicles.

"We need to do it soon... I would like to see a migration of people away from current technologies to lower-emission technologies. We are providing incentives to do that now and we will be doing more in the months ahead."

In January this year, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan condemned the "shameful state" of the capital's air after a 'black alert' for pollution was issued, resulting in even healthy people being advised to avoid any physical exertion