Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says 80,000 VW owners have not paid congestion charges for years because their cars were marketed as cleaner. Now that the world knows otherwise, he thinks Volkswagen should pay up.
Khan recently wrote to Volkswagen asking it to compensate London and its residents for the damage caused by the higher emissions the cars produced than claimed by the manufacturer.
80,000 VW’s registered to London homes were fitted with defeat devices, escaping the congestion charge for years.
— Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (@MayorofLondon) November 20, 2016
Although emissions scandal broke over a year ago, no compensation has materialized for UK car owners.
At the time, Matthew Pencharz, then Deputy Mayor for Environment & Energy, told Cities of the Future: “They certainly need to fix the problem. How they fix it is up to them, but it needs to be fixed. We have around 1.2 million cars affected in the UK, of which a high proportion are in the London area. They need to be either recalled or fixed.”
Last week, Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns at consumer group Which said: “The 1.2 million VW owners in the UK will still be questioning why US consumers are getting compensation when there is still nothing on the table for customers in this country. The Government must urgently get to grips with this matter.”
Frustrated by the lack of action on the part of the government, Khan is now taking matter into the city’s hands.
“I want to see a proper commitment from them [VW] to fully compensate the thousands of Londoners who bought VW cars in good faith, but whose diesel engines are now contributing to London’s killer air,” he wrote in his letter. “I also urge them to reimburse TfL [Transport for London] the £2.5m lost in congestion charge revenue, which I will use to fund a new schools air quality programme that will reduce the exposure and raise the awareness of school children in London attending schools in the most polluted areas.”
The Mayor has also called on the Government to put in place a national diesel scrappage scheme to help people replace their vehicles.