MPs have accused ministers of complacency and being ‘concerned with protecting the reputation of VW’ in their response to the emissions scandal.
Members of the Transport Select Committee, including Conservative MPs, were highly critical of transport minister Robert Goodwill, who appeared before them after publishing the results of the Government’s testing programme for diesel cars.
VW has admitted cheating lab emissions tests
Mr Goodwill announced that VW, which has admitted using ‘defeat’ software to rig emissions tests, had not fixed any cars in the UK.
He also said he had not discussed a possible prosecution of the company.
Conservative Mark Menzies asked the minister: ‘Do you not think that the Government has got a duty to bring a prosecution? Can I make sure you hold VW to account?’
Labour’s Graham Stringer said: ‘It seems you are more concerned with protecting the reputation of VW as opposed to punishing them for poisoning the people of this country. VW lawyers will be popping very expensive bottles of champagne tonight after this performance, minister.’
A report published by the Department for Transport last week revealed that all makes of diesel cars tested produced significantly higher emissions of toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) in real world tests than in labs. However, the tests found no ‘evidence of test cycle manipulation strategies as used by the Volkswagen Group’.
In a statement to Parliament earlier yesterday, Mr Goodwill repeated claims last week that ‘from next year, vehicles will have to meet emissions limits in real driving conditions across a wide range of typical operating conditions.’
He added: ‘This will improve consumer confidence in manufacturers.’
However, as the Government’s own report pointed out, new European legislation that comes into force next year will allow real world emissions to exceed the lab-testing limit by more than 100%.
This morning car maker Mitsubishi, which last week admitted to falsifying fuel economy data for some models, said it used testing methods that were not compliant with regulations for 25 years.
The company has lost half its market value since the scandal emerged.