Dagenham and Rainham MP pleads with government to stop the ‘demonisation’ of diesel

Jon Cruddas making his case in Parliament back in April, which he repeated last week. Picture: Parli

Jon Cruddas making his case in Parliament back in April, which he repeated last week. Picture: Parliament live tv - Credit: Archant

The MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, has renewed his appeals to protect the car manufacturing industry.

In a speech in Parliament last week, the MP said that Brexit and the “demonisation of diesel” has led to catastrophic damage to the industry’s reputation.

He said in Dagenham, the decline in diesel manufacturing could lead to job losses, with Ford planning to recruit for 150 less jobs in 2018.

“The story of my own constituency’s past cannot be told without an understanding of the sector dominated by the Ford Dagenham plant, employing at its height some 40,000 workers,” he said.

“Today Dagenham’s two engine plants produce one million diesel engines annually, 50 per cent of Ford’s global diesel requirement, and provides over 3,000 jobs.

“Eighty-nine per cent of these engines are exported, the total turnover stands at some 1.75 billion, however investment in Britain’s car industry has halved in the past two years.”

He said a crisis in confidence in diesel techonology, triggered by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, has damaged not just VW, but the whole sector.

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“I’m not trying to defend older diesel engines, which in truth are more polluting than their petrol counterparts,” he said.

“However, we must bring back some nuance into this debate.

“All diesel technology is being tarred with the same brush, despite the fact that state-of-the-art diesel technology has seen a vast improvement on its predecessors. Ironically, these dirtier engines will be kept on the road for longer if consumers are misinformed about the difference between diesel technologies.”

In 2014, Ford invested almost half a billion pounds into clean diesel technology, which meets European emissions standards and TfL’s low emissions targets.

“To help the Dagenham plant transition to future technologies we must move to provide stability today, which can only be done by supporting modern diesel technology and production,” he added.

“Unfair criticism and misunderstanding of the technology is threatening thousands of jobs in my constituency.

“The government has a role in restoring consumer confidence in diesel technology. It has to begin to make the case for modern diesel.”