Jon Cruddas: “Demonisation of diesel technology could be disastrous for Ford factory in Dagenham”

MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, speaking about diesel technology in the Ford factory. Pict

MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, speaking about diesel technology in the Ford factory. Picture: parliamentlivetv - Credit: Archant

Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham and Rainham, defended the role of Ford in Dagenham’s future in Parliament on Friday.

He said the current debate on diesel is leading to the “demonisation” of diesel technology.

This could have “disastrous consquences” on Dagenham’s Ford factory, which employs around 3,000 people and turns over £1.75bn.

He said: “In the current climate there is little or no separation between old and new diesel technology – between dirty engines and state of the art diesel technology.

“If this is allowed to continue it will have disastrous consequences.”

He said a crisis in confidence in diesel is leading to unfair criticism of the engines built in Dagenham.

Dagenham’s Diesel Centre produces one million engines a year. Of these, 89pc are exported overseas.

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In 2014, £490 million was invested into ‘clean diesel’ engines, which are specifically designed to meet new Euro 6 emission standards.

Mr Cruddas said: “The plant is at the cutting edge of diesel technology and produces engines that comply with the most stringent emissions standards on the planet.

“Today there is a real danger that Britain’s auto industry is on a cliff edge, with collapsing sales of diesel and the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs and dealerships.

“Over the last months I have been in talks with the company, the unions, the Mayor’s office and council leaders, and we all stand united in the need for new arguments for modern diesel, to push back against the current hostility to this technology.

“This is not about defending the indefensible in terms of the older engines, but to argue for the most efficient modern diesel technology.”

He said the controversy surrounding Volkswagen cheating emissions tests had led to a damaged reputation across the whole sector. In 2017, the Dagenham factory had to shelve plans to create 150 news jobs, and over the last few weeks, Vauxhall, Nissan and JLR have all announced job and dealership cuts. European diesel sales are now at 33pc – compared to 50pc in 2011.

Mr Cruddas said it’s time to hit back at misconceptions about the diesel sector, arguing Euro 6 cars are the cleanest in history.

He said: “I know the government recognizes the need to act quickly to improve the UK’s air quality - but they must also accept that we cannot do so at the expense of increasing our CO2 emissions.

“The most effective way to achieve both aims is by encouraging consumers to adopt new technologies.

“We all need to secure Dagenham’s future by transitioning into these technologies, but to do that we need to resist the wholesale demonization of the technologies and make the case for modern diesel.”