Friends of the Earth have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about adverts promoting the practice of removing pollution filters from diesel vehicles. They say the practice should be banned, because it leaves cars illegal to drive – something many are unaware of.
The advertising code of practice sets out principles stating that marketing communications should be “legal, decent, honest and truthful”.
Adverts for garages offering to remove diesel particulate filters (DPF) from cars are widely posted online. However, although the practice of removing DPF devices from diesel cars appears legal, once removed, it leaves cars illegal to drive.
These DPF removal adverts, in failing to mention that the service they offer leaves consumers with a law-breaking vehicle, are clearly in breach of this standard.
Friends of the Earth is also calling on the Government to outlaw the removal of DPF devices altogether.
Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, Oliver Hayes, said: “Air pollution is a public health crisis of breath-taking proportions. The dodgy practice of removing pollution filters from cars is not only risking people’s health, but also putting drivers at risk of prosecution for the simple fact that it’s illegal to drive a car with its DPF removed.
“We’re asking the ASA to clamp down on those advertising these dubious practices and help prevent more deadly pollution hitting our children’s lungs. But we’re also calling on the Government to make it illegal to remove these pollution filters in the first place.
“Unless they do, the absurd loophole remains whereby unscrupulous garages can remove a pollution filter but it’s only the driver, once they’ve turned the engine on, who is breaking the law. It’s more urgent than ever that we deal with all the dirty diesel vehicles on our roads, whether or not they have a DPF filter.
“Diesel owners should be offered a generous scrappage scheme so they can switch to cleaner, greener vehicles. The recent Department for Transport report revealed that, unbeknownst to many, most diesel owners are driving cars which emit many times over the legal limit of deadly nitrogen oxides.”