AN initiative to get old cars off the road to improve air quality is being introduced by Ford which is bringing back a scrappage scheme.
The company, which makes some of Britain's most popular models, is offering incentives of up to Â£7,000 to encourage drivers to switch to newer, less polluting vehicles.
The programme will start on September 1 and targets van drivers as well as cars.
Ford estimates that taking older models off the road would save 15 million tons of CO2 a year and drastically reduce other pollutants from traffic.
Such a reduction in CO2 is the equivalent to the annual output of three coal-fired power stations.
The scrappage offer is being made to owners of vehicles registered on or before December 31, 2009 when the Euro 5 emission regulations came into force.
The current Euro 6 standard, which cut CO2 and NOX levels even further, was introduced in September 2015.
Under the new scheme, Ford will give a £2,000 allowance to owners of any brand of older vehicle which is traded in to be scrapped.
The deal is being coupled to other incentives Ford will be offering to the end of the year which see price reductions ranging from £2,000 to £5,000 on particular models.
Andy Barratt, chairman of Ford in the UK, said: "Removing generations of the most polluting vehicles will have the most immediate positive effect on air quality, and this Ford scrappage scheme aims to do just that.
"We don't believe incentivising sales of new cars goes far enough and we will ensure that all trade-in vehicles are scrapped. Acting together we can take hundreds of thousands of the dirtiest cars off our roads and out of our cities."
Data from motor industry body the SMMT shows that there are approximately 19.3 million pre-Euro 5 emission level passenger cars currently on UK roads.
Developments in engine technology have seen significant cuts in the amount of pollutants from vehicles and since 1993 the amount of carbon monoxide produced by cars has fallen by 82 per cent for diesels and 63 per cent for petrol models.
Getting rid of all pre-Euro 5 standard vehicles is estimated to reduce average emissions by 48g/km.
Vehicles traded in for scrappage under the Ford scheme must have been registered in the owner's name for at least 90 days.