Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin has informed the House of Commons about a range of initiatives under way following the scandal over Volkswagen engines being fitted with defeat devices to fool emissions tests.

He said the UK testing body, the Vehicle Certification Agency, has secured assurance from all automotive manufacturers outside the VW Group for whom it has issued emissions type approvals that defeat devices have not been used.

He added: “We will of course be testing this for ourselves. We have already re-tested VW Group vehicles for which the UK provided type approval. These initial tests provide valuable information, improving our ability to detect a defeat device and strengthening our understanding of the impact it has on vehicle emissions, including CO₂ and NO.

“We have also begun a wider testing programme to understand the real world emissions performance of a broader selection of vehicles in the UK. This is crucial to improve the accuracy of environmental assessments – used for both air quality management and infrastructure investment. This programme will test a representative selection of vehicles used on UK roads, including a sample of the newest and the UK’s top selling vehicles.”

McLoughlin said he had also secured agreement from his opposite number in Germany so their technical teams would work cooperatively together. “This will enable us to reduce duplication and ensure a wide range of vehicles are tested. My officials will continue to look for further opportunities for collaboration with other European partners with a view to securing additional efficiencies,” he added.

He said: “Alongside this, we have succeeded in reaching an agreement with the European Commission and member states that represents a real step change in the way in which testing is carried out – for the first time real world testing will be part of the regulatory regime from 2017. This is an important milestone, but we will continue to press for EU level action towards a comprehensive approach to emissions testing, to restore consumer confidence and deliver our wider air quality and climate objectives.”