The scheme, expected to be confirmed in this week’s Budget announcement, is likely to mean car-owners with old vehicles will be given a £2000 allowance to trade them in for scrap and buy newer vehicles. It is hoped this will cut carbon emissions through disposing of the inefficient old models.
However, a statement from the Environmental Transport Agency said it believes the scheme is a “motor industry bail out masquerading as a green initiative”.
ETA director Andrew Davis said: “Altering the way you drive and keeping a car longer can be a greener option than buying new.
“Even if the new model you buy is more economical, once you take into account the energy needed to scrap the old car and build an entirely new one the overall benefits are likely to be tiny.”
The ETA suggest drivers avoid sharp acceleration and braking to cut emissions as well as reducing the amount of weight carried in the car including less use of roof racks to conserve more petrol.
But British Metals Recycling Association director general Ian Hetherington welcomed the possible scheme. He said: “It’ll increase employment as well as the level of recoverable materials so it’s good news socially and environmentally. It will mean lower emissions and higher levels of recyclability. The scheme is heavily driven essentially by a green agenda.”
Green Party spokesperson on trade and industry Darren Johnson AM disagreed. He said: “It only benefits people who can afford to buy a new car, and they often buy bigger cars which cause higher emissions.”
The Green Party’s national spokesperson on sustainable development Professor John Whitelegg added: “Some years ago a study showed that if a car’s life was extended from ten years to twenty, there were significant benefits in terms of both pollution and employment. Specifically, doubling the car’s life reduced its lifetime energy-use by 42 per cent compared with scrapping it and building a new one, because repair and maintenance were more energy-efficient than new manufacture.”
He also cited a similar scheme that is currently in place in Germany, which, although successful in boosting the car industry, seems to have shifted the job losses elsewhere.