Damning new proof that Labour ignored fears over diesel: Confidential records show ministers knew vehicles powered by the fuel emitted more toxic fumes
'Fresh evidence of how Tony Blair's Labour government ignored health warnings about diesel vehicles before encouraging millions to buy them has emerged.
Confidential records released by the Treasury yesterday confirmed ministers were well aware that diesel vehicles emit more toxic fumes.
But they show how officials preparing the 2000 budget argued against higher tax for diesel cars 'so we are not seen as being overly harsh on diesel users'.
The documents were released by the Treasury after a two-year battle with the BBC which lodged a Freedom of Information Act request.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the documents showed Labour pursued 'the dash for diesel' despite knowing the dangers, adding it was 'another example of a Conservative government having to clean up Labour's mess'.
Advice from the Treasury's tax policy section presented to ministers stated: 'Relative to petrol, diesel has lower emissions of CO2 but higher emissions of the particulates and pollutants which damage local air quality.
'A diesel supplement is necessary so that we do not create incentives for people to choose diesel vehicles over similar petrol models in order to attract a lower Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rate.''
Read more: Damning new proof that Labour ignored fears over diesel: Confidential records show ministers knew vehicles powered by the fuel emitted more toxic fumes
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