A GARAGE in Bristol has been told to change its advertisements for a diesel particulate filter (DPF) removal service by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The advert, from avontuning.co.uk, was challenged by environmental action group Friends of the Earth as part of its campaign against garages offering the service.
As previously reported by Workshop Magazine, the issue of DPF removal surrounds the legality of subsequently using the vehicles on the road. Under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations it would be an offence to use a vehicle which had been modified to no longer meet with the emissions standards it was originally designed to meet. The user of the vehicle is liable for any penalty, with fines of £1,000 for a car and £2,500 for a van.
In addition, guidance added to the MOT test in 2014 requires a visual inspection of the DPF, with testers instructed to fail the vehicle if the filter has been removed.
The advertisement noted that their method of removing the DPF would make it unlikely to fail an MOT as the casing of the filter remained and would satisfy a visual check. It also included a qualifier that the modification is sold for off-road use only, but the ASA felt that it could mislead consumers into believing their vehicles could still be used on public roads.
Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, Oliver Hayes, said: ‘Air pollution is a public health crisis of breath-taking proportions. The dodgy practice of removing pollution filters from cars is not only risking people’s health, but also putting drivers at risk of prosecution for the simple fact that it’s illegal to drive a car with its DPF removed.
‘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 whereby unscrupulous garages can remove a pollution filter but it’s only the driver, once they’ve turned the engine on, who is breaking the law.’
The ASA ruled that the advert must not appear again in its current form, and that the company must ensure that it makes immediately clear, with sufficient prominence, that it was illegal to drive such vehicles on a public road.
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