Fiona Harvey2 Dec 2019
Judge makes major ruling in mass ‘dieselgate’ litigation against VW in England and Wales
Published on Mon 6 Apr 2020 11.54 BST
The car manufacturer Volkswagen subverted key air pollution tests, a British court has found, by using special software to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides under test conditions.
The high court finding is a boost to attempts by campaigners to force the company to address the impact of its cars in producing lung-damaging pollutants at far higher levels than were legally permissible.
A group of about 91,000 claimants is taking Volkswagen to court in one of the biggest “class action” cases, or group litigation orders, yet to be heard in England and Wales. Although Volkswagen has been found guilty in the US, in Europe the carmaker has denied that it cheated tests.
In his summary, the judge wrote: “[After considering the arguments made by Volkswagen] the upshot was that I found that the software function in the vehicles here did indeed amount to a prohibited ‘defeat device’… I also concluded that VW’s attempt to relitigate the issue here was an abuse of the process.”
He said: “A software function which enables a vehicle to pass the test because (artificially) it operates the vehicle in a way which is bound to pass the test and in which it does not operate on the road is a fundamental subversion of the test … it destroys the utility of the test.”
Diesel vehicles were once touted by the car industry as a green alternative to petrol vehicles because they have lower greenhouse gas emissions. But their emissions of tiny particles and irritant gases such as nitrogen dioxide are far higher, unless trapped by filters.
In 2015, campaigners revealed that cars produced by Volkswagen emitted far more nitrogen oxides in standard road driving than was recorded in test conditions. The ensuing scandal engulfed the car industry, which has faced turmoil and falling sales in some categories.
Jenny Bates, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Diesel exhaust is in the same category for causing cancer as smoking, according to the World Health Organization, so to deliberately hide this toxicity cannot go unnoticed or indeed unpunished. The sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans should be banned by 2030, earlier than the government is planning, both for air pollution and climate reasons.”
VW installed ‘defeat devices’ to subvert emissions tests, high court finds | Volkswagen (VW) | The Guardian
Fiona Harvey2 Dec 2019 Judge makes major ruling in mass ‘dieselgate’ litigation against VW in England and Wales Published on Mon 6 Apr 2020 11.54 BST The car manufacturer Volkswagen subverted key air pollution tests, a British court has found, by using special software to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides under test conditions. The high… [Read More]