Charity Files Lawsuit against Multiple Governments for Diesel Defeat Devices

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The United Kingdom, Germany, and France recently became the subject of a lawsuit filed by a popular environmental charity. ClientEarth, along with several NGOs, addressed the legal complaints to the UK, German, and French governments about the local authorities’ failure to eliminate or reduce the use of defeat devices. 

A March 22, 2023, analysis provided by the ICCT or International Council on Clean Transportation showed that there are over 200 car models with unlawfully high volumes of NOx or nitrogen oxide emissions. Of the 200, approximately 40% were identified as having extremely elevated levels of NOx. Almost all vehicle manufacturers were represented in the analysis.

After the analysis, the ICCT concluded that the vehicles were equipped with defeat devices. These illegal devices are used to manipulate the control systems of diesel-powered engines during emissions testing. While the vehicle emitted reduced emission levels when the device was in use, it released high levels of nitrogen oxide when driven in real-life road conditions. These levels were often 40 times over the legal limits. Thus, any vehicle with a defeat device is a high pollutant. 

The UK has around 2.4 million allegedly affected vehicles on the road. Throughout the EU, the estimated total of vehicles is 16.6 million. 

Despite the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the transport industry is still at the top of the list of the UK’s highest emitters. This has been the trend for seven years. The biggest share of the emissions is produced by road transport, which is also identified as a major contributor to air pollution. In 2022, a study revealed that approximately 97% of the homes in the UK were situated in areas with exceedingly elevated levels of air pollution – levels that went over the World Health Organization’s regulated limits.

The environmental charity believes that filing a legal complaint against the three governments is the best course of action. Aside from encouraging the local authorities to get into action, they also want the automotive industry to compensate affected drivers. One of the charity’s suggestions is the creation of the Dieselgate Clean Up Fund.

On their website, ClientEarth indicated that they filed the legal complaints so that carmakers in the UK, Germany, and France will finally be held accountable for the inconveniences that affected drivers were subjected to. It is also their goal to get carmakers to produce solutions that would protect human health and the environment.

Road transport has been in the news since 2015 when the Dieselgate scandal first broke.

What was the scandal all about?

The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal took place in September 2015, after the Volkswagen Group was found to have used defeat devices in thousands of VW and Audi diesel vehicles. The devices reduced emissions when the vehicles were in the lab being tested and switched off when the vehicles were on real roads. Because of this, when the vehicles are driven outside testing centres, their emission levels go beyond the EU and WHO legal limits.

VW lied to their customers when they sold the defeat device-equipped vehicles. They misled drivers into believing that the vehicles were emissions-compliant. 

After the VW discovery, authorities found more carmakers using defeat devices with the help of test programmes. Some of these manufacturers were BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Renault, among others.

NOx emissions: how dangerous are they?

Nitrogen oxide or NOx contains nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). It is used to form acid rain and smog. It also produces ground-level ozone, which can damage vegetation.

Exposure to NOx emissions has also been linked to several mental health-related cases. Issues of depression and anxiety become more frequent if a person is regularly exposed to NOx. Additionally, it also weakens cognitive health, which means a person becomes more vulnerable to dementia.

The health impacts that result from exposure to NOx emissions vary from the most common to serious and life-threatening.                                                                       

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary oedema
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Asphyxiation
  • Cancer
  • Laryngospasm
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, a young resident of south London, was the first person in the UK to have died due to exposure to air pollution. Today, there are thousands of air pollution-caused premature deaths throughout the world. 

Air pollution has become as dangerous as, or more dangerous than, vehicular accidents, smoking, and HIV and AIDS. 

These health impacts are one of the primary reasons why authorities have been vocal about how affected drivers should file a diesel emissions claim case against their carmakers. Exposing drivers (and everyone around them) to NOx emissions and lying about the performance quality and emissions compliance of the vehicles should not be tolerated. 

Am I qualified to receive my diesel claim compensation?

A successful diesel claim will allow affected drivers to enjoy compensation from their carmaker. However, this shouldn’t be your primary concern when filing a claims case. Following the right process is important. As such, you should first verify your eligibility to claim by visiting You’ll find all the information you need to determine if you can move through the process. Working with an emissions expert will be an immense help. 

Start your emission claim case now and get the compensation you deserve. Visit their website here –

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