The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), whose members are responsible for a combined fleet of almost five million cars, vans and trucks operating on UK roads, has submitted its response to the recent government consultation on air quality outlining what the association wants to see incorporated into future government policy.
Although supportive of government’s commitment to improving air quality the association urges policymakers to consider a carefully blended set of incentives and restrictions which ensures that measures introduced do not cripple the economy or punish people, but encourage long-term behaviour change which moves people and businesses towards cleaner transport solutions.
In its submission, the BVRLA makes recommendations to:
1. Ensure that the introduction of Clean Air Zones acts as a catalyst for innovative schemes such as Mobility Credits which would give people credits to use for occasional vehicle rental, hours of car club use and public transport.
2. Support businesses and consumers through a managed transition, allowing small and medium sized businesses time to make fleet adjustments in line with their normal cycle without incurring unnecessary additional costs.
3. Offer improved fiscal incentives for the uptake of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles such as extending the current incentives for electric vehicles to cover not just the first owner of the vehicle, but subsequent owners too.
4. Explore the possibility of ‘green lanes’ on particularly congested and pollution generating routes in which only vehicles with low emissions could drive.
BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney said “Clean Air Zones are coming to many of our largest urban areas and you only have to look at some of the recent local adverse reaction from the taxi community in Leeds to see they have the potential to significantly impact local people and businesses.
“For many, their local Clean Air Zone will be the first tangible evidence of the Government’s drive to improve air quality. It’s vital that their design and implementation encourages growth and enhances rather than impedes people’s ability to get around and transport goods. We need to see a consistent approach to signage, charging and restrictions to minimise confusion and avoid non-compliance.
“We are calling for a carefully managed transition that encourages people and businesses to use more sustainable vehicles and modes of transport. Crucially, it must be done in a way that encourages people and businesses to make long term changes in their behaviour. Hence our strong advocacy of our Mobility Credits initiative which will help remove thousands of the most polluting vehicles from the roads.
“If the government and local authorities get this wrong, public and business support will be lost, and the economy and people’s quality of life will suffer.
“The key to getting a quick and effective transition will lie in government’s ability to implement a practical and workable solution which considers fleet operating cycles as well as offering incentives and support to operators.
“Meanwhile our members, whose fleets are on average 8% cleaner than the national average, stand ready to offer advice and provide individuals and businesses with the appropriate clean and cost-effective solution to meet their needs. This will be particularly helpful to those living and working in and around the areas earmarked for Clean Air Zones.”