(Reuters) – Carmakers that attempt to cheat automobile emissions checks might face limitless fines and prison prices below proposals set out on Thursday by the British government.
The announcement is geared toward addressing criticism that the government was toothless in coping with Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) after a scandal that affected 1.2 million vehicles in Britain.
The German carmaker admitted in 2015 to utilizing software program to cheat diesel emission checks within the United States and has since paid out compensation to U.S. motorists, however has refused to take action in Europe, arguing the software program was not unlawful there.
“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,” mentioned junior transport minister Jesse Norman in an announcement.
“Those who cheat should be held to proper account in this country, legally and financially, for their actions.”
Under the proposals, corporations might face prison prices and fines for promoting new automobiles that include software program designed to deceive British emissions checks.
If carried out, any adjustments couldn’t be utilized retrospectively.
The new guidelines is also prolonged to importers of automobiles found to cheat emissions requirements.
The proposals shall be put ahead in a government session, giving the auto business and different events an opportunity to provide their views earlier than any coverage is fashioned.
The session will even have a look at the necessity for extra rigorous checks on gasoline financial system claims, enhancing the environmental efficiency of specialist and modified automobiles, and stricter guidelines for the sale of stock automobiles that don’t meet present emissions requirements.
The head of British automotive business physique the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) mentioned the government already had powers to implement the regulation and examine automobiles.
“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,” mentioned SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.
Reporting by William James; further reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Mark Potter