UK ‘powerless’ over foreign emissions cheats as Government seeks to change law

The Government has admitted it is powerless to take action against foreign car firms that cheat emissions tests, as ministers announced plans to toughen the law.

Manufacturers that fit so-called “defeat devices” can only be pursued if they are based in this country, meaning that no legal action could be taken against Volkswagen during the 2015 emissions scandal that affected 1.2 million vehicles in the UK.

In future, car makers, importers or dealers could face criminal charges and unlimited fines if they use software or devices that are designed to deceive emissions tests.

Jesse Norman, the transport minister, will today open a consultation outlining the new measures. “Those who cheat should be held to proper account in this country, legally and financially, for their actions,” he said.

Mr Norman wants the new regulations to extend to any British importer who brings a non-compliant vehicle…

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