Three of the leading companies in online advertising, Google, eBay, and Gumtree have all refused to remove one of the ads for a service which removes vital and important pollution filters from diesel car exhausts, and therefore sending toxic emissions over the roof.
Many diesel car owners, (over a thousand of them) have been caught without the filter, and experts warn that the numbers might be much more than feared. Many campaigners are complaining to Advertising Standards Authority, saying that these kind of adverts are a violation of its code, which bans motoring “practices that condone or encourage anti-social behaviors.” There is a gap in the law which helps the service. The law says you cannot drive a diesel car without pollution filters, but the simple act of removing the filter is not illegal.
MPs noted that air pollution was becoming a public health emergency, giving chilling numbers that show that particulate pollution has been the cause of nearly 40,000 to 50,000 deaths per year in the past few years in the UK. But even after that, some garages around the country are still offering to remove the diesel particulate filters, something which most ministers have said is unacceptable and clearly detrimental to people’s health.
The diesel particulate filters usually become clogged for most city drivers, and the act of removing the filter is very expensive which leads to most garages offering to just removing the filter altogether. Google and Gumtree say the act of removing the pollution filters is not illegal therefore the adverts for the service are not presenting any illegal activity.
Since 2014, any of the cars without the filters fails the MOT test, and numbers revealed showed that a total of 1,188 cars have been caught so far. But some of the garages advertising say they can beat the MOT test.
One campaign group, Friends of the Earth (FoE) has complained to the ASA about the DPF removal services. One of the people at FoE, Oliver Hayes, said, “Air pollution is a public health crisis of breath-taking proportions. We’re asking the ASA to clamp down on those advertising these dubious practices and help prevent more deadly pollution hitting our children’s lungs. But we’re also calling on the government to make it illegal to remove these pollution filters in the first place. Unless they do, the absurd loophole remains.”
Google said they do not comment on individual policies as per their policy, and still refuses to take down the adverts. One spokeswoman said of the situation that all advertisers were supposed to comply with the laws and regulations and if they felt the advertiser was not then they would take action.
Gumtree’s Hannah Wilson also echoed the same remarks noting that the adverts on its website were supposed to be in compliance with the English Law. She also mentioned that in most cases removal of these diesel filters was for a legit legal reason then there was no need to remove the ads.
Diesel Particulate Filters can be removed, cleaned, and replaced and there are many of advertisements advertising for these services, but other scrupulous garages advertise only for removal and make sure they do not replace the filter.