What is the detrimental impact of the Volkswagen emissions scandal?

What is important to you when considering a new car? We are all aware of the negative impact motor vehicles have on the environment, which is why many of us now consider a vehicle’s eco-credentials when making a purchase decision.

How would you feel if, after purchasing a car, you found out that the cost to the environment from your driving was far higher than you thought? What if you found out that the manufacturer of your car had deliberately deceived you in regard to emissions levels to maximise their own profit?

Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act

That is what happened to millions of owners of Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT vehicles around the world in 2015 when the US Environmental Protection Agency revealed that the Volkswagen Group had violated the Clean Air Act – a law designed to reduce air pollution nationally.

The Volkswagen Group admitted to fitting 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with ‘defeat devices’ to cheat emissions tests. This deliberate manipulation of the vehicle’s software led to higher nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than are legally allowed when the vehicles were driven on the road.

If you purchased, leased or financed a diesel Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT or Skoda motor vehicle manufactured between January 2008 and 1st January 2016, you could be affected. What’s more, you could be entitled to compensation.

Dieselgate is the biggest scandal to hit the car industry in decades, yet it is still to be acknowledged in England and Wales. Despite paying out compensation to its affected customers and addressing the environmental damage in countries including the US and Canada, the Volkswagen Group have so far refused to pay any compensation in the UK.

Consequently, affected cars are still on UK roads, many still emitting impermissibly high levels of emissions into the atmosphere every time they are driven.   

Why does the Volkswagen emissions scandal matter?

Not only did Volkswagen fool regulators and deceive their own customers, they harmed the world’s shared resource – clean air – and put people’s health at risk.

As well as its impact on the environment, we now know that air pollution, caused by road vehicles, is detrimental to human health.

Among the pollutants released into the atmosphere from motor vehicles is nitrogen oxide (NOx), which is made up of nitric oxide and the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide.

What is the impact of nitrogen oxide emissions on human health?

Nitrogen dioxide is known to cause respiratory problems in humans and contribute to premature deaths.

In his decision following a preliminary issues trial in London against the Volkswagen Group in December 2019, Mr Justice Waksman relied upon an existing case which stated:

“A recent analysis from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimates that exposure to nitrogen dioxide has ‘an effect on mortality equivalent to 23,500 deaths annually in the [United Kingdom]’.”

Wales particularly suffers from air pollution. It has some of the worst air quality in the UK, contributing to approximately 2,000 deaths per year. Public Health Wales have described the air quality in Wales as an urgent public health crisis, second only to smoking.

Has Volkswagen done anything to clean up the air in Europe?

In short, no.

The Dieselgate scandal affected cars worldwide, but Europe is the most seriously impacted region, with around 2.5 million cars affected in Germany, 1.2 million in England and Wales, close to a million in France and over 500,000 vehicles in both Spain and Italy.

In Europe, the Volkswagen Group has done nothing. They have only made efforts to remediate the environmental harm they have caused in North America.

In the US the Volkswagen Group paid:

  • More than $2.7 billion into a fund for environmental remediation of the harm caused by the pollution; and
  • $2 billion into a fund to be used to promote zero-emissions vehicles.

In Canada, Volkswagen paid the largest environmental fine in the country’s history – C$196.5 million – after pleading guilty to violating Canadian emissions laws.

How concerned are Clean Air Claims about environmental remediation?

Clean Air Claims deliver ethically motivated claims in England and Wales. We believe clean air matters and we believe that car manufacturers should be held to account.

By representing claimants against the Volkswagen Group, we are sending a powerful message to car manufacturers that excessive pollution is unacceptable and that they must do better for the environment and for all of our health. Profit should never come before the environment and human health.

We care deeply about the detrimental impact Dieselgate has had on the air quality in England and Wales, which is why we are providing our legal services at such a competitive rate. We hope that a commitment to environmental remediation by the Volkswagen Group will be part of the eventual resolution of the claims (as was the case in the USA). We are also committed to donating a proportion of our profits to a remediation-focused charitable cause.

All claims are handled on a no win, no fee basis. We’re committed to keeping our fees as low as possible, so you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

If you believe that the Volkswagen Group should be held to account for their deception of consumers and the irreversible damage they caused to the environment in their pursuit of profit, then start your claim today

This is your chance to use your voice to send a strong message that car manufacturers must do better.

The process is simple and we’re on hand to help every step of the way

Our simple, automated claims system allows you to provide information and documents about your vehicle online. We guide you through the entire process and offer helpful tips for finding your car’s information.

Once you sign up to make a claim, our legal team are on hand to answer any questions through our live chat feature. Alternatively, please contact us on 02921 202921 if you have queries.

To find out whether you are entitled to compensation, start your claim today on a no win no fee basis.

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About LGWP Law

LGWP Law is a division of Cardiff based solicitors LG Williams & Prichard, one of the oldest law firms in South Wales. Since its foundation in the 1850s the law firm has established a strong reputation for placing clients at the heart of the business providing a personal, friendly and effective service across a wide range of areas of law.