‘Thousands’ driving without diesel filters

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Image caption It really is illegal to drive a diesel vehicle with the particulate filter removed

A large number of motorists are breaking the law by traveling diesel cars without pollution filter systems, experts have told BBC five live Investigates.

The driving force and Vehicle Standards Agency states 1, 800 cars have been captured since 2014.

Yet experts say they believe the quantity is much higher, claiming the current GENTEMOT test, which requires only a visible inspection, is not fit for objective.

The DVSA says it plans to expose changes to improve the test next year.

All new diesel cars created after 2009 have diesel particulate filters designed to reduce pollution amounts, but they can sometimes get clogged upward and break down, costing thousands of pounds to change.

Because of the price involved, some motorists are choosing instead to have them removed.

It is illegal regarding drivers to use a car with the DPF removed, but it is not illegal with regard to garages to take them out.

5 live Investigates followed the progress of a vehicle which had its filter eliminated through MOT tests at 3 different garages.

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Media caption UNITED KINGDOM scientists estimate air pollution cuts Uk people’s lives by an average of 6 months

Mechanics failed to spot the filtration system had been taken out on each event.

MOT ‘not fit for purpose’

Frank Kelly, professor of environment health at Kings College, Greater london, said the health impact was destructive.

“If the DPF is removed, it takes the task being done to restrict emissions back again 30 years.

“A car with a DPF removed includes a particulate count 20 times more than one with it.

“The particles lead to numerous health issues such as lung cancer, heart episodes, strokes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s – and may also affect an unborn kid in the womb. ”

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Media caption Basic tips to avoid inhaling air through traffic and other common sources of air pollution

Experts have told 5 reside Investigates that the 1, 800 vehicles which failed the MOT check since 2014 because the filter have been removed are just the tip of the iceberg.

They think many thousands more are getting away by it because current emission tests never always detect it, and one more test – which involves only a visible inspection of the filter unit externally – is not adequate.

Nick Molden, chief executive of Exhausts Analytics, said: “It is clear a far more detailed inspection of vehicles is necessary during MOT, and potentially spot-checking of vehicles in real world circumstances is needed, too.

“The MOT test is clearly unfit for purpose in checking in case a DPF has been removed. ”

‘My car had been illegal’

But some road users say the problem with DPFs is situated with the manufacturers – as they may need to be replaced multiple times, while the price can be prohibitive.

Toby Giller was quoted £ one, 000 for a replacement on his seven-year-old car – and he had to take action four times in quick sequence because it kept getting clogged upward.

He said: “The car manufacturer should play the responsible part and guarantee the particular DPF filter for the life from the car.

“The issue is with the manufacturers, not the vehicle proprietor, but we are bearing the huge cost of inefficient manufacture. ”

Another car owner, Liz, informed the BBC she bought a second-hand car without realising the DPF had been removed.

The lady said: “I am reliant upon my car for work and having the kids to school, have never damaged the law and was shocked to discover I was driving an illegal vehicle.

“I are not able to afford as a single parent to pay for £ 3, 200 for new device for a car that is only really worth £ 5, 000. ”

‘Close the particular loophole’

Labour MEGA-PIXEL Mary Creagh, who is chairwoman from the environmental audit committee, said: “I’m concerned there could be tens of thousands of cars on the highway which have had the DPF taken out.

“The federal government should tighten MOT tests plus close the legal loophole which allows garages to remove them and be a cheater the public out of clean air. ”

A spokesman for the Section for Transport said there were programs to improve the test to make it more effective.

A spokesman for the Motorist and Vehicle Standards Agency mentioned: “DVSA is making further adjustments to the MOT manual and to the particular diesel emissions limits for contemporary vehicles, in May 2018.

“These will make the test better quality and better able to detect exactly where emissions control equipment has been tampered with. ”


To hear read more about this story, tune into 5 reside Investigates on twenty nine October at 11: 00 BST or listen to the podcast .

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