FairFuelUK has launched a stinging attack on the government’s strategy of increasing charges on diesel cars as a way of lowering emissions.

The campaign group said it carried out a survey of 16,000 UK drivers, and only 1 in 100 believe that adding a pollution tax to diesel will improve the environment.

It added that four out of five diesel drivers said they would have no choice but to drive the same mileage even with a green tax added to their fuel bill and nine out of ten diesel drivers support a fair scrappage scheme.

Charlie Elphicke MP for Dover and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Fuel said: “It’s wrong to demonise diesel drivers. Pollution must be tackled - yet diesel cars account for just 10% of emissions. It means there’s a real risk 90% of the problem will get ignored, which would be bad for our health and the environment.

“Many drivers feel they were encouraged to buy diesel by the last Labour government. Punishing them with extra taxes is deeply unfair. The great danger is that tens of thousands of drivers will switch to petrol. This is not the answer. It would simply mean harmful CO2 levels rocketing. We must take an approach which tackles the whole pollution problem - not just use this as an excuse to fleece motorists for more taxes.”

Quentin Willson, motoring journalist and lead campaigner for FairFuelUK said: “Nobody is talking about the amounts of particulate matter (PMs) emitted because it’s very rarely measured. It’s not Nox that’s the health issue it’s PM 10 (10 micrometres), 2.5 (2.5 micrometres) and ultra fine particles. Generated by all vehicles, not just by burning fossil fuels but also from brake linings and tyres. How can we rank diesels without measuring the PMs?”