Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers has asked the Government to investigate whether motor giant Toyota used ‘defeat devices’ to allow them to emit illegal levels of air pollution from trucks sold in the UK.
Theresa has written to transport secretary Grant Shapps asking him to look into whether Hino Motors Limited – a division of the Japanese car manufacturer – used the technology to give false emissions readings and endanger the British public.
Hino trucks are manufactured in Ireland and sold in the UK.
In March of this year, Hino admitted to “falsification of engine performance data” and its Tokyo offices were subsequently raided by Japanese authorities.
Three Hino engine models have now been withdrawn from sale in Japan over the scandal.
Theresa now wants the Department for Transport to look into whether trucks sold here also had falsified data.
In the letter she said: “Under legislation introduced following the Dieselgate scandal, should you as Secretary of State have sufficient reason to believe that a vehicle presents a serious risk to public health and/or employs a prohibited defeat device, there is a legal duty to evaluate that product and force the manufacturer to take corrective action.
“In the wake of Dieselgate, it became clear that emissions cheating was not an isolated incident, but a widespread and systemic activity perpetrated by several manufacturers, across multiple corporate divisions and governmental jurisdictions.
“The question must be asked: was Hino’s emissions cheating in Japan an isolated incident, or was Hino also falsifying emissions data in other markets, such as the UK?”
The former environment and Northern Ireland Secretary said similar questions were being asked in the USA, where Toyota has been found in breach of the Clean Air Act several times for failing to report defects that interfere with pollution controls on its vehicles.
“Important progress has been made in combating vehicle pollution in the UK – from the 2017 air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide, the ground-breaking 2021 Environment Act, and the world-leading pledge to end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035,” Theresa explained.
But she added: “We need to remain vigilant to new risks as they emerge that might undermine this progress and once again put the health of the British public at risk. I look forward to the results of your investigation into this situation.”