The British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) has expressed concern following the London Mayor’s air quality announcement.
BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney commented: "We support all measures introduced to improve air quality, but are wary of the impact the Mayor’s proposals will have on local communities and businesses.”
The BVRLA is very concerned about Sadiq Khan’s plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the North Circular Road and the South Circular Road, and possibly bring forward its introduction from 2020.
“These last minute adjustments to the ULEZ scheme would not give businesses time to prepare and could punish a large number of companies who have already planned their vehicle requirements based on the scheduled 2020 introduction date. It took years of planning, research and consultation to come up with the current ULEZ proposals and rushing through with any changes could have major unforeseen repercussions.”
The Mayor has also suggested that the most polluting vehicles would be hit with an extra charge on top of the Congestion Charge payment from 2017.
“As the operators of the newest, cleanest vehicles on UK roads, the rental and leasing industry would be there to help businesses that were caught out by any new rules.”
The London Mayor has also given the go-ahead for Transport for London (TfL) to start work on the costs and challenges of implementing a diesel scrappage scheme in the Capital.
“We believe a diesel scrappage scheme is a blunt instrument for improving air quality – there needs to be thought put into this scheme. Motorists should be encouraged to use vehicles as and when they need them – rather than just being given £2,000 to buy a new vehicle, they could be given vouchers for car clubs. Any air quality plan should also look at encouraging uptake of ultra low emission plug in vehicles with a range of in-life incentives, such as free parking or use of bus lanes.”
Keaney concluded: “Air quality is vitally important, but we also need to ensure that people can afford to live and work in London. We believe that the current ULEZ proposals strike a good balance between these priorities and can be built on going forward.”