More than half of motorists want a ban on diesel cars to be introduced amid concern over emissions, a new survey suggests.
The poll of 2,000 UK drivers found that 29% want diesels prohibited from all roads, while a further 23% would support them being kept out of built-up areas.
Some seven in 10 respondents believe exhaust fumes are damaging their health and 79% are in favour of an exclusion zone for diesels near schools and hospitals.
The research was commissioned by law firm Slater and Gordon, which is representing more than 45,000 people in a lawsuit against Volkswagen over the diesel emissions scandal.
Concerns over emissions of nitrogen oxides have grown since Volkswagen was found in September 2015 to have cheated air pollution tests for 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, including 1.2 million in the UK.
The manufacturer’s UK headquarters was blockaded by Greenpeace activists and medics on Monday to raise awareness of the issues associated with exposure to diesel fumes.
An estimated 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK are caused by air pollution, which is linked to health problems such as childhood illnesses, heart disease and dementia.
Sales of new diesel cars have fallen for 16 consecutive months, and were down 24% year-on-year in July.
Gareth Pope, head of group litigation for Slater and Gordon, said: “For many motorists, getting an environmentally friendly and fuel efficient model was the number one factor for buying diesel.
“They wanted cars which were clean, green and efficient and are now starting to realise they were sold a lie and their cars don’t live up to the promise.
“This survey has shown that the VW emissions scandal, and revelations about what lengths the manufacturer went to cheat clean air tests, has had a hugely negative impact on the entire industry.”