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: “The government’s 2040 zero-emission milestone provides a clear deadline for vehicle manufacturers and aligns with plans already outlined in other countries.”
“It will have almost no impact on NOx emissions here and now. It is what the government does in the short term to kick-start the transition and maintain its momentum that really matters. Any long-term zero-emission targets needs to be coordinated and underpinned by every localised, short-term strategy.”
On Clean Air Zones, Keaney said: “We are still going to see charge-based clean air zones in London and five other cities by 2019.
“Vehicle rental and leasing companies will be able to offer vehicles that are 100% compliant with this or any other CAZ that uses the Euro 6 emissions standard when it starts in 2019.
“We must 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.”
On the £255 Implementation Fund, Keaney added: “Clean Air Zones are a blunt instrument, and it is good that the government is urging cities to look at alternative, more targeted interventions such as individual road restrictions, new road layouts, retrofitting and behaviour change incentives.
“The government is only giving cities eight months to come up with draft plans, so the £200m of extra financial support will be essential.”
Regarding the plan’s reference to the tax treatment of new diesel vehicles, Keaney commented: “It’s reassuring that the government has listened to our calls and will not be punishing fleets and motorists for decisions they have already made.
“The government wants to focus on new rather than existing diesel vehicles when it comes to raising tax revenues to fund these local air quality initiatives. We will work with policymakers to ensure that any new tax measures are proportionate and reflect the essential role the fuel still plays for many road transport applications.”
The BVRLA also welcomed the government’s pledge to consult on measures that will help minimise the impact of local clean air measures on residents and businesses.
“We still believe that well-targeted scrappage schemes could make a significant contribution in reducing NOx emissions by removing some of the oldest, most polluting cars and vans from our roads,” said Keaney.
“We think 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, Keaney added:
“There will now be a huge focus on the government’s strategy for a pathway to zero emission transport for all road vehicles, due for publication by March 2018.
“With so many unanswered questions about charging infrastructure, grid capacity and the affordability and availability of electric vehicles, we need a clearer roadmap on the government’s 2040 vision.”