Earlier this year we had a Government Minister saying that drivers should “think long and hard” before buying a diesel car and instead consider purchasing a low-emission vehicle.
The comment came as it emerged that the Government was working on a strategy to tackle air pollution.
Transport Minister Chris Grayling’s comments took place as it emerged that the government had a legal duty to cut emissions of nitrogen oxide from diesel cars, which account for four in ten vehicles on British roads, after a high court ruling last year ordered action within a short timescale.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Chris Grayling said: “People should take a long, hard think about what they need, about where they’re going to be driving and should make best endeavours to buy the least polluting vehicle they can.
“I don’t think diesel is going to disappear but someone who is buying a car to drive around a busy city may think about buying a low-emission vehicle rather than a diesel.”
Now a Freedom of Information request by Steven Knight Media has revealed that despite Chris Grayling’s comments on diesel vehicles around two-thirds of Government cars, which include those used by the Department for Transport, are diesel powered, although no information was made available on what type of car Chris Grayling uses.
The Government says:
“Since April 2012, the Government Car Service (GCS) has provided a Departmental Pool Car service where a car is contracted to a Department rather than allocated to an individual Minister. A Departmental Pool Car is a shared resource, available for Ministers and senior officials to use as directed by each customer Government Department.
“The GCS currently has 91 cars available for ministerial use as Departmental Pool Cars. Of these, six are pure electric, 21 have hybrid technology, five are petrol and 59 are diesel.
“As vehicles become due for renewal, they will be replaced by non-diesel alternatives. five diesel vehicles are due for disposal shortly”.
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.