The VW Emissions scandal won’t disappear anytime soon even though VW have agreed to pay a record settlement of $14.7 billion (£12 billion). When they were first found to cheat on factory emissions tests, most major governments condemned their actions, this is because it undermines tackling global climate challenges and agreements such as, the Paris Climate Agreement.

The EU plan to sue UK, German, Luxembourg, Lithuanian, Czech, Spanish, and Greek governments over failing to police emissions cheating in the wake of the VW emissions scandal.


The VW emissions scandal broke when they were discovered using the ‘defeat device’, which are intended to produce misleading test results during laboratory emissions testing. But VW were the only car manufacturer that were discovered using software intended for this purpose. However, the KBA (Federal Motor Transport Authority) discovered that other manufacturers use dubious means to pass laboratory emissions testing.

Tricks include, switching off emissions control systems within different temperature ranges and turning them off entirely after just over 20 minutes, the time it takes to do an emissions test. Fiat and Mercedes have both claimed that these practices are necessary, so that they can better protect the engines.

Germany have also previously complained that the EU laws outlining what is allowed, is unclear. Elzbieta Bienkowska, the EU’s industry commissioner, told the FT that she was “increasingly frustrated with member states’ lack of co-operation, and that governments “need to prevent, police and sanction any cheating by car manufacturers.”

Failure to act

The EU commission has said that it is beginning infringement proceedings on the 7 nations mentioned failing to act upon evidence of questionable emissions control devices emerged.

This was after a wide-scale retest of 93 different vehicles from various manufacturers. The lack of action from the UK government highlights an inability to react to situations that will have a detrimental impact on the UK and it is the taxpayer that will pay for this inaction.