The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has called for additional guidance from government to ensure ‘consistency’ over the establishment of Clean Air Zones in England.
BVRLA, which outlined its ‘Fleet and Mobility Services Manifesto’ last week ahead of the June 8 General Election, has urged government to move from ‘consultation to action as soon as possible’ to tackle air pollution.
Within the manifesto, the trade body for the vehicle rental and leasing sector has called for a “carefully blended mixture of incentives and restrictions that encourage more sustainable travel behaviour but don’t punish motorists for decisions that they have already made based on previous government policy.”
Earlier this month, the government launched its long-awaited consultation on the draft plan for reducing nitrogen dioxide, in order to bring it in line with EU limits (see airqualitynews.com story).
This includes a ‘framework’ outlining the principles for local authorities to follow when setting up Clean Air Zones as well as the types of measures they should include.
On the framework, BVRLA said: “The government needs to build on its recently published Clean Air Zone framework for England by providing additional guidance to ensure consistency in terms of standards, enforcement, timescales for introduction, and penalties for non-compliance.”
BVRLA has also called for a ‘clear guarantee’ that no business making purchasing decisions “on the basis of the current emissions standards will be penalised retrospectively if they are amended”.
On the issue of diesel scrappage schemes – which also featured in the government’s clean air plan – albeit without specific details as to how such a scheme would operate, BVRLA said that any diesel scrappage initiative should look to prioritise a switch to “pure electric” alternatives.
It said: “Any diesel scrappage scheme must be flexible and targeted. It should provide assistance for companies looking to replace or retrofit older, more polluting commercial vehicles. Such a scheme should encourage private car owners to swap their existing car for a pure electric alternative, and provide sufficient incentives or subsidies to encourage this.
“It should inspire private motorists to give up their cars and look at more sustainable modes of transport, but also provide them with credits for car rental and car club use for essential journeys that require a car.”
BVRLA has also called for continued funding and support via the Plug-in-Car and Plug-in-Van grant schemes.
Commenting on the launch of the manifesto, BVRLA Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “It is essential that the new government understands the vital role our members’ huge purchasing power can play in delivering safer, sustainable and more cost-efficient road transport.
“Policymakers face a real challenge, not just in terms of Brexit, but also in how the UK embraces the move towards data-driven mobility services. We believe this manifesto will ensure the big issues for our industry aren’t forgotten about – regardless of the make-up of the government after 8 June.”