Fleet summit in Coventry to address air quality issues

The BVRLA and colleagues from the fleet sector met with officials in Coventry last week to discuss future mobility options and plans to improve air quality. This follows a request from government for the city to take action to address illegally high levels of air pollution.

The meeting was jointly hosted by the BVRLA, Energy Saving Trust and Coventry City Council. BVRLA members, fleet operators, local businesses and council representatives were also in attendance.

Coventry City Council has been asked to consider introducing a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) but is keen to explore other options which don’t involve charging.

Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration, Cllr Jim O’Boyle said; “Our position is that a charging zone is not needed in Coventry. Roads in the city where there are air quality concerns can be resolved without charging. Coventry’s approach has been, and remains to achieve compliance through a combination of road improvements, traffic management, travel planning and promotion of electric vehicles and new technology.”

The local authority has been exploring electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure measures and potential support for car clubs in a bid to change transport behaviour.

Coventry has also been chosen as the region for the UK’s first Mobility Credits pilot. The controlled trial will involve credits that are loaded on to a travel card and smartphone app to spend on alternative travel including public transport, car sharing or green hire schemes.

BVRLA Public Affairs Manager, Rachael Hewish said; “We’re very grateful to Coventry City Council for welcoming us to their city for this important discussion. The decisions made will affect thousands of people. Poor air quality impacts on people’s health and quality of life and the solutions proposed to tackle it will in turn affect thousands of businesses across the region and the wider economy.

“It is therefore reassuring to hear that the Council are taking a pragmatic, tailored and solution-focused approach to their proposed plans. We look forward to engaging with them further as soon as these plans are confirmed later this year.”

The Coventry event has been the conclusion of busy week for the BVRLA, one that has seen the association active at national level on Road to Zero activity. The BVRLA has taken part in meetings with JAQU to discuss a national CAZ portal and had meetings with HM Treasury and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to reiterate the need for a supportive tax regime and incentives, alongside more investment in EV infrastructure to support the Road to Zero strategy.

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