London Mayor Boris JohnsonLondon Mayor Boris Johnson says diesel drivers should be given £2000 to scrap their “more polluting” cars and correct a failure of public policy.

Speaking to the Environmental Audi Committee, Johnson said the diesel drive has “been a massive failure of public policy”, reports the Daily Telegraph.

“Millions of people were told they were doing the right thing, the clean thing, the environmentally friendly thing, by buying a diesel. They now feel very hacked of now they’re told they are more polluting.”

The scrappage scheme, most likely for diesel cars that don’t meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, would rectify tax incentives that, said Johnson, encouraged millions of drivers into diesel cars.

A decade ago, there were 1.6 million diesel cars on the road in Britain. Today, there are 11 million, accounting for one in three cars on Britain’s roads.

Most of these do not meet Euro 6 emissions standards.

The London Mayor’s suggestion of a diesel scrappage scheme follows his proposed £10 surcharge for diesel cars travelling into London from 2020. Only diesels that meet Euro 6 emissions standards would be exempt.

The sudden vilification of diesel cars in London is because older diesels emit more NOx than petrol cars – and London is facing fines due to heavy pollution levels that break EU rules. Public Health England says such air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths each year.

To illustrate the scale of the problem, the Environmental Audi Committee has produced a fascinating video detailing London’s air pollution issues…