BENTLEY Motors in Crewe faces the threat of a big rise in costs after a new European Union directive to force cuts in carbon emissions from cars.

It was announced on Wednesday that all new cars produced, imported or sold in the UK from 2012 will have to emit 130g of carbon dioxide or less for every kilometre travelled. The average for new cars in 2005 was 162g.

As one of the UK's foremost car manufacturers, Bentley may have to fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds extra every year to meet the new legislation.

Speaking on behalf of the Pym's Lane company and car companies up and down the country, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) chief executive, Christopher Macgowan, said: 'The industry is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products.

'We have also already produced and brought to market cars that can meet the 120g/km limit - the problem is that motorists do not buy them.

'We recognise the importance that cars play in climate change but everybody has a role to play in reducing CO2 emissions. It is important to put this in context and if the commission is intent on placing the onus on to car manufacturers, then we see serious difficulties ahead.

'There is a huge threat to employment and the economy. Not only will the choice of cars be reduced by these measures if we are to meet the limits, but independent estimates place a projected increase of £2,500 to the sale price of each new car.'

Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council economic development portfolio holder, Cllr David Brickhill, said: 'Given Bentley's standing in the luxury car market, putting an extra £2,500 on the price of a Bentley is financially easier than adding £2,500 on to the cost of a cheaper, competitively priced car.

'I think it is important to reassure Bentley workers that they are in a very good position, although it is inevitable that costs will rise and that Bentley has an awful lot of work to do.'

Council environment portfolio holder, John Hammond, added: 'Although I greatly sympathise with the car manufactures, I welcome any move to cut carbon emissions in the borough.'

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