The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, claims that Volkswagen owes Transport for London £2.5million in congestion charge payments which its cars allegedly wrongfully qualified for
The bill would cover the cost of the 80,000 Dieselgate-affected cars in London which escaped congestion charge payments due to their low emission classification, reports the BBC. Volkswagen says that the cars qualified for low emissions charges, and since no CO2 change has been measured, still qualify for the classification.
The BBC also reported Khan as describing VW’s actions as “nothing short of a disgrace”; the famously outspoken London mayor has since introduced and proposed stringent fees and penalties for drivers of diesel cars since the scandal emerged, such as a Toxicity charge, due to be introduced in October.
Volkswagen highlighted that when the discount was applied, the cars were discounted due to their sub-100g/km status. No official CO2 figures on affected cars have been changed, so still qualify for the discount, and did not qualify for it under a falsehood.
Volkswagen issued the following statement in reaction to Sadiq Khan’s suggestion: “Volkswagen is clear that all of its vehicles which were affected by the NOx issue, and which benefitted from the Congestion Charge Greener Vehicle Discount, did so validly throughout the relevant period.”
Khan wrote to VW late last year, saying “there is no excuse for the utter lack of action VW has taken in London since the ‘dieselgate’ scandal came to light,” according to The Guardian.
He continued: “I want to see a proper commitment from them to fully compensate the thousands of Londoners who bought VW cars in good faith, but whose diesel engines are now contributing to London’s killer air.
“I also urge them to reimburse Transport for London (TfL) the £2.5m lost in congestion charge revenue, which I will use to fund a new schools air quality programme that will reduce the exposure and raise the awareness of schoolchildren in London attending schools in the most polluted areas.”
Khan said that London was home to 80,000 VW vehicles affected by the “cheat devices” – software that allowed various Volkswagen models to detect when they were being tested for emissions and change engine settings to pass. The scandal affected 11 million vehicles worldwide.
Volkswagen has agreed a deal in the US to compensate owners and dealers who were misled by the emissions claims but has said it will not pay out in Europe.
Khan, who became London mayor in May of last year, also requested that VW updates him on progress on the reprogramming of affected vehicles, asking when the work would be completed.
The UK Government has also urged VW to pay compensation to British owners and threatened prosecution over the scandal. The company already faces legal proceedings in several countries around the world, including the US, Norway, South Korea and Germany. It’s not the first time Volkswagen has rejected others’ proposed levies on the brand; Volkswagen continues to reject the notion that owners in Europe should be compensated, and also refused to cover the cost of a government re-testing of a sample of the UK car market.