By Meletus EZE
German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer on Wednesday said his plan to battle air pollution in cities by retrofitting older diesel vehicles would not require taxpayer funds or money from the car owners.
The government is due to hold another summit on Friday to try to agree on a way to tackle pollution from diesel vehicles without resorting to bans.
Scheuer said his priority was ensuring owners could swap old cars for cleaner ones.
“My concept is currently based on needing no taxpayer money and that the car owners won’t have to pay for it.
”It means that German car manufacturers would have to build a framework that helps to rebuild trust,” Scheuer told the Media
The subject has proven controversial as pollution levels have exceeded EU limits in a number of German cities.
However, the government is worried about the cost of replacing or upgrading vehicles and the impact on the country’s powerful car industry, its biggest source of export income.
Scheuer said that the government plan would not extend to older diesel vehicles made by foreign manufacturers, which do not fall under German jurisdiction.
Carmakers and German government representatives failed to reach a compromise on Sunday over potential hardware retrofits for older diesel vehicles.
Friday’s meeting will take place ahead of a deadline at the end of September set by Chancellor Angela Merkel to stave off bans on older vehicle.
Government sources said on Tuesday the high-level summit would be held in the German chancellery, and both Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier would take part.
The government currently envisages offering owners of affected diesels in 10 heavily polluted cities options including buy-backs, exchanges and hardware refits, according to the media.
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that he would not make taxpayers money available.
“I do not think that’s an issue for public money,” Scholz, who is also vice-chancellor, said.
He said that incentives to buy a new diesel car would not be enough to tackle the problem.
“When it comes to driving bans in Germany, we talk about the life situation of millions of citizens… Most of us can’t afford a new car, but buy a used vehicle.
“Therefore we want that there are possibilities of retrofitting,” Scholz said.