Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean MP and DEFRA Minister, Rebecca Pow MP, met with the BVRLA and a selection of members to hear the industry’s concerns about the lack of a centralised payment portal for Clean Air Zones.
The association has worked closely with the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) on the development of the payment portal and has consistently expressed concerns about there being no autopay functionality.
With the first Clean Air Zone going live in Bath on 15 March, the Ministers cited time and budget constraints as the reason for not having an autopay function available and they are keen to understand where further improvements could be made.
Three BVRLA members were present at the meeting to help reinforce the points that were made. Duncan Webb, Head of Fleet for ISS UK and Ireland and former chair of BVRLA’s Fleet Operator Working Group, Tim Bailey, Fleet Director UK and Ireland, Redde Northgate plc and Ben Lawson, Vice President of Mobility and Project Development – Europe at Enterprise Holdings.
Suggestions put forward by the BVRLA included:
- Issue best practice guidance to local authorities which includes how they can best support businesses to prepare for the introduction of CAZs by:
- Issuing warning letters ahead of the introduction which also references the business accounts tool
- Highlighting the issues some businesses are facing in the absence of autopay and ask for grace periods to support those who are adapting their own internal policies/processes
- Setting out clear processes of how businesses can contest penalty charge notices (PCNs) if caused by inaccuracies in the system
- Promoting the role of rental and leasing – not just to get people into CAZ compliant vehicles but in support of longer term aims to reach net zero.
- JAQU should set up quarterly meetings with businesses, the BVRLA and local authorities to review progress against the best practice guidance and to see where there are ongoing issues and concerns and to identify areas where further investment if necessary.
The group will reconvene again once the Bath CAZ is operational, and Ministers have confirmed that guidance will be developed for local authorities to help support businesses.
Also see the BVRLA’s Clean Air Zones website page.