BERLIN (Reuters) – German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said on Wednesday that his plan to battle air pollution in cities by retrofitting older diesel vehicles would require neither taxpayer funds nor money from the car owners.
“My concept is currently based on needing no taxpayer money and that the car owners won’t have to pay for it. That means that German car manufacturers would have to build a framework that helps to rebuild trust,” Scheuer told broadcaster ZDF.
The German government is due to hold another summit on Friday to try to agree a way to tackle pollution from diesel vehicles without resorting to bans, and Scheuer has said his top priority was to ensure owners can swap old cars for cleaner ones.
The subject has proven controversial as pollution levels have exceeded European Union limits in a number of German cities. But the government is worried about the cost of replacing or upgrading vehicles and the impact on the country’s powerful car industry, its biggest source of export income.
Scheuer on Wednesday called the current debate about technical retrofits on older diesel vehicles “dangerous”, including for automakers.
He also said the government plan would not extend to older diesel vehicles made by foreign manufacturers, which do not fall under German jurisdiction.
(Reporting by Gernot Heller and Michael Nienaber; Editing by Maria Sheahan)