Manufacturers that cheat emissions could face unlimited fines

A general view of the Volkswagen Factory, Wolfsburg

The government has threatened that car manufacturers that fit emissions-cheating devices to their vehicles may face an 'unlimited fine'. The initiative is designed to give the government more powers in the event of a similar scandal to the Volkswagen 'Dieselgate' affair, though it is understood the proposal will have no retrospective bearing on this.

It's been led by Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the Department for Transport. "We continue to take the unacceptable actions of Volkswagen extremely seriously, and we are framing new measures to crack down on emissions cheats in future," he said. "Those who cheat should be held to proper account in this country, legally and financially, for their actions."

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No further information on the plans has revealed, leaving it unclear how the government is proposing to pursue punitive action if such cheating is discovered. It's also unclear if the fines and potential prosecution would apply to the vehicle manufacturer or the body that gave type approval.

While all vehicles sold in the UK undergo vehicle type approval, the DfT describes the proposed limits as "above and beyond European requirements".

In response to the proposals, Mike Hawes, chief executive of industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: "Every new car sold in the UK meets the strictest of regulations governing everything from safety to emissions standards and how vehicles are tested and approved for sale.

"Government's own testing of vehicles on the road has consistently shown them to be fully compliant, and we are pleased that government recognises that manufacturers have been rigorous in meeting the standards.

"There are already severe penalties for any manufacturer involved in any kind of misconduct in the type approval process conducted here in the UK and the government is now looking to extend this to all vehicles wherever they have been approved.

"All new cars meet the toughest emission standards and government now has more powers to conduct in-service testing so consumers can be confident they are buying the cleanest and safest cars in history."

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