Press Release

BVRLA responds to Government’s revised Air Quality Plan

Release Date: 

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has responded to the publication of the government’s revised air quality plan.

BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “We understand the need to address air pollution in the UK, which requires a change in the way we travel and the vehicles we use. While we broadly welcome the government’s revised air quality plan - and we look forward to responding to the DEFRA consultation - the automotive industry urgently needs detail on the incentives that are available, not another period of consultation.”

On Clean Air Zones, Keaney said: “We’ve long called for a national framework that would require consistent Clean Air Zone (CAZ) emission standards, so it’s good to see this being published today. Many of our members are already meeting the standard required by the Mayor of London for his zone which is set to be introduced in 2019. Rental and leasing companies will be able to offer cars that are 100% compliant with this or any other CAZ that uses the Euro 6 emissions standard. We now need to ensure that zones are consistent across the UK – not only having the same emissions standard requirement, but also in terms of their signage, enforcement and penalties for non-compliance.”

In response to the plans to introduce real driving emissions tests, Keaney added: “From September, new cars launched onto the market will be tested under the new WLTP system, which replaces the 25-year old NEDC test. Our members are already discussing how to implement these new CO2 figures into their quotation engines, but we now need the government to clearly signpost when it will transfer from an NEDC- to a WLTP-based tax system.”

Regarding the plan’s reference to the government updating its procurement policy, Keaney commented: “It’s reassuring that the government has listened to our calls and is going to lead by example. The current Government Buying Standard focuses on CO2 emissions, so it’s welcome news that the Government’s revised standard will focus on NOx emissions when it is published later this year. This will further encourage public sector fleets to choose ultra-low emission vehicles where possible.”

On the plans for a diesel scrappage scheme, Keaney said: “It’s disappointing that the government is still consulting on a scrappage scheme, rather than publishing detail about what incentives drivers of older diesel vehicles will be given, and when the scheme will come into effect. We believe a national scrappage scheme could make a significant contribution in reducing NOx emissions by removing some of the oldest, most polluting cars and vans from our roads. We believe car owners should be encouraged to look at more sustainable modes of transport, and the government should give them credits to use for car rental, car club memberships or public transport. Commercial vehicle operators trading in older diesel vehicles should be given a cash incentive – either money off or a discounted lease rate when choosing a Euro 6 van or Euro VI truck.”

In conclusion, he added: “The latest BVRLA statistics show that diesel cars continue to reduce as a proportion of the BVRLA leasing fleet, as use of ultra-low emission vehicles becomes more popular – particularly in urban areas. Diesel vehicles remain a vital part of the fleet mix though, as diesel engines are the most energy-efficient internal combustion engines. It is often the most appropriate powertrain for long distance journeys and non-urban freight transportation, and the latest Euro 6 diesel engines have made some major gains in reducing harmful NOx emissions.”


About the BVRLA
Established in 1967, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is the UK trade body for companies engaged in the rental and leasing of cars and commercial vehicles. Its 900+ members operate a combined fleet of around 4.8million cars, vans and trucks. BVRLA members buy nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the UK, supporting around 317,000 jobs and contributing nearly £25bn to the economy each year.

By consulting with government and maintaining industry standards, the BVRLA helps its members deliver safe, sustainable and affordable road transport to millions of consumers and businesses. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:
Toby Poston – Director of Communications & External Relations
tel: 01494 545700
mob: 07979 756533

Jamie Fretwell - Media Relations & Communications Manager
tel: 01494 545710
mob: 07790 271806