London Mayor Sadiq Khan demands damages over Volkswagen defeat devices

The mayor wants Volkswagen to pay up over "dieselgate" and to compensate the city for lost congestion charges.

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Volkswagen

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is urging Volkswagen to make amends and to "fully compensate" the drivers of vehicles affected by the emissions scandal as well as London authorities.

Over the weekend, Khan wrote to the German automaker, saying that Volkswagen is responsible for revenue lost by Transport for London (TfL), the transport authority which imposes charges on vehicles in the capital which contribute to London's polluted air.

In a series of tweets, Khan said that "80,000 VW's registered to London homes were fitted with defeat devices, escaping the congestion charge for years," and urged the automaker to reimburse TfL for roughly £2.5m lost in congestion charges.

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Twitter

Over a year ago, the German automaker was embroiled in a scandal for installing roughly 11 million vehicles worldwide with so-called "defeat devices" which passed vehicles for emissions levels imposed by government authorities in testing and lab situations -- but not while the cars were on the road.

The company set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3bn) to repair consumer vehicles and has been ordered to pay fines by different regulators including the US Department of Justice (DoJ)'s imposition of fines which reached $14.7 billion.

A worldwide recall is still ongoing with customers forced to take their cars in for garage repairs. Affected vehicles include Jettas, Golfs, Passats, and Beetles.

As Volkswagen's defeat devices misled both consumers and the government of the true levels of pollution caused by a range of vehicles, TfL lost out on revenue, Khan argues.

See also: Volkswagen engineer behind 'defeat device' pleads guilty in US court

In a letter to the company, as reported by the Guardian, Khan says:

"There is no excuse for the utter lack of action VW has taken in London since the 'dieselgate' scandal came to light.

I want to see a proper commitment from them to fully compensate the thousands of Londoners who bought VW cars in good faith, but whose diesel engines are now contributing to London's killer air."

Khan says that if Volkswagen agrees to these demands, the funds will be invested in a new "schools air quality program" designed to educate children on pollution.

Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns at consumer group Which commented:

"The 1.2 million VW owners in the UK will still be questioning why US consumers are getting compensation when there is still nothing on the table for customers in this country.

The Government must urgently get to grips with this matter."

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