Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has revealed that the UK has started a new emissions testing programme in the wake of the admission by VW on its use of devices to mislead tests.

At a meeting of European transport ministers in Luxembourg he pressed the European Commission to introduce real-world driving emissions tests as soon as possible, saying: “The needs of consumers must be at the forefront of action to restore public confidence in emissions testing. I have made it clear to Volkswagen that we expect it to support UK owners of vehicles fitted with defeat device software. The UK government has already announced that owners in Britain will not incur higher vehicle taxes as result of VW’s actions.

“There now needs to be co-ordinated European work to establish trust in the testing process. As I highlighted to the Transport Council, driving emissions tests that reflect real-world performance must be introduced as quickly as possible.

“In the meantime, I can confirm that the UK has now started its own testing programme. This will get to the bottom of what the situation is for VW Group cars in the UK and ensure we understand the wider implications for other car types to give all consumers certainty.

“I have also today repeated my call for a Europe-wide investigation into the use of ‘defeat devices’, in parallel to the work we are doing in the UK.”

The UK will initially re-test Euro 5 category diesel cars previously type-approved that VW group has confirmed contain ‘defeat device’ software. This re-testing will involve both laboratory and real-world elements. These measurements will be used as a benchmark for further testing, with the final programme to be developed.