Former Transport Minister John Spellar urged Theresa May to defy EU rules
John Spellar warned extra penalties and new EU rules on achieving clean air look set to financially cripple those who drive diesel cars.
The former transport minister is calling on the Prime Minister to ignore the EU’s regulations altogether.
Mr Spellar said: “Other countries tend to treat these regulations as advisory whereas we treat them as mandatory.”
The minister, who served in Tony Blair’s government, also wants to see a fair scrappage scheme put in place to compensate drivers who will lose money due to the new rules.
Motorists are set to face extra parking fees and a congestion charge to beat EU rules on nitrogen dioxide levels.
And, from April 2019, owners across the UK face a new ”toxin tax" of up to £20 a day if they drive in built-up areas like cities.
Diesel drivers could face £20 a day to drive in towns and cities like London
Earlier this week, Mrs May attempted to address the diesel row during a trip to Saudi Arabia.
She indicated that she may block the proposed tax to charge diesel car drivers £20 a day to drive in towns and cities such as London.
The proposal, which is understood to be backed by some in Government, came after a High Court ruling forced ministers to find new ways of making the air cleaner in cities.
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But the Government has come under fire after it encouraged motorists to buy diesel cars for the sake of the environment following advice from the EU.
Mrs May said: “In relation to the issue of diesel cars, obviously we will be producing a new air quality plan, we’ve been required to do that by the courts.
“Decisions will be taken when we produce that plan – obviously we will take final decisions as to what we do."
The Government has come under fire for encouraging motorists to buy diesel cars
She added: "But I’m very conscious of the fact that past governments have encouraged people to buy diesel cars and we need to take that into account when we’re looking at what we do in the future.”
The EU has threatened to take the UK to the European Court of Justice if it does not publish how it plans to tackle the toxic air this month.
It has also issued warnings to Germany, France, Italy and Spain to clean up their acts, as Germany and France rank as having worst air than Britain.