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YOUNG AT HEART: The only reason for scrappage

Date: 21 April 2009

Tristan Young is Editor-in-chief of BusinessCar

With the Chancellor's Budget due tomorrow I'm still left wondering if Darling's thought a scrappage scheme through properly.

In all the chat about how a scrappage scheme will be green because it will promote lower-emission new cars, I've seen no inclusion of a whole-life environmental impact on swapping from an old car that already exists and just produces emissions against the process of building a new car, including the mining of the raw materials, production of the components, building the car and shipping.

And that's before you get to the lack of recyclability of the old car you're scrapping.

And that's also before you take into account that it's generally considered new cars cover more miles than old ones.

The impact on residual values also seems to have been ignored, particularly for fleet disposals if the scheme (as is expected) only promotes new to one-year-old cars.

If old-car owners can get a £2000 discount on a nearly-new car, why would they bother looking at a three- or four-year-old one? There would also be an impact on RVs in this area, which have been recovering nicely. They would fall immediately, and the artificially stimulated new car market would also face an RV hit in three years.

Possibly the best pro-scrappage scheme argument I've read is from fleet risk expert Nigel Grainger, who's spotted that new cars are much safer than old cars. The result? Fewer accidents and fewer road deaths and serious injuries.

How can you argue with that?