Ministers should consider prosecutions against VW following the emissions scandal, MPs have said.
In a new report, the Transport Select Committee warns that without proper sanctions against manufacturers that cheat, there is little to stop a similar scandal happening again.
Committee chair Louise Ellman said: ‘Volkswagen Group has acted cynically to cheat emissions tests which exist solely to protect human health. Volkswagen’s evidence to us was just not credible but the Government has lacked the will to hold VW accountable for its actions. There is a real danger that VW will be able to get away with cheating emissions tests in Europe if regulators do not act.
‘We are concerned that VW’s fix was developed at the lowest possible cost which might lead to increased costs for motorists down the line. We have called upon the Vehicle Certification Agency to do everything in its power to ensure that does not happen.’
Transport Select Committee chair Louise Ellman
The committee said the Government has been complacent in identifying whether Volkswagen broke the law in Europe by installing defeat devices in its vehicles to cheat emissions tests.
It accused the Department for Transport (DfT) of trying to pass the buck to the European Commission ‘which holds neither the evidence nor the powers to prosecute’. It stressed: ‘The responsibility for prosecution lies with national governments.’
The committee said it was ‘deeply unfair’ that Volkswagen refused to compensate owners of affected cars in Europe, despite offering significant compensation to vehicle owners in the US.
It called on the DfT to ensure that consumers are not out of pocket in any way as a result of the emissions scandal or Volkswagen’s fixes to affected vehicles.
MPs said the scandal also revealed significant flaws in the vehicle type approval system in Europe.
Although the EU is now seeking to improve the regulations on this, the committee said many of those reforms do not go far enough.
The MPs welcomed the planned introduction of ‘real driving emissions tests’ and a stricter lab test for measuring fuel consumption.
However, the committee said it was ‘disappointed that legal emissions limits were not set lower given the scientific evidence that shows dangerous NOx emissions could be cut much faster’.