Ministers have rejected mounting calls for a diesel car scrappage scheme to help tackle air pollution, claiming it would be ineffective and prohibitively expensive.
MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) select committee on Wednesday joined the ranks of influential groups urging the Government to offer cash incentives to drivers of old, polluting diesel cars to trade them in and buy low emissions vehicles.
But a Government spokesman told the Telegraph it had no plans for a car scrappage scheme.
"A national scrappage scheme cannot guarantee reductions in emissions as effectively as other alternatives," he said.
"This is because air quality issues are often localised and can be managed in other ways."
A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) document reveals that the Government did consider the use of scrappage schemes when drawing up its air quality strategy. It says ministers looked at schemes "both linked to ULEV [ultra-low emissions vehicle] purchase or more generally".
But it concluded that there was "no proportionate way to appropriately target such a measure to the areas where it would be most needed and it would be prohibitively expensive, as well as an ineffective use of resource to offer a scheme indiscriminately".