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MPs call for increased ULEV incentives

That’s the verdict of MPs on a Parliament select committee in a new report on air quality that also calls for increased use of tailored clean air zones.

The report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) calls into question Defra’s action on air quality and says there’s been an “absence of effective new measures” and “insufficient local powers”.

The report says that government incentives are needed now to establish a self-sustaining low-emissions vehicle market, adding: “Funding for new refuelling infrastructure and grants to help buy cleaner vehicles is welcome but currently insufficient to get polluting diesel vehicles off the road quickly. The Government should develop proposals now so that at the next Budget it can introduce a scheme to give those scrapping diesel vehicles over about 10 years old a discount on buying an ultra-low emissions vehicle.”

Following the VW saga, the report adds that the Government “must ensure that vehicle company marketing claims are fully accurate and must work with the EU to establish tougher standards that cut vehicle emissions on the road”.

The report also calls for clean air zones, which charge vehicles for access during certain times, across dozens of areas in addition to those pinpointed by the Government. It also says the Government must also devolve to councils greater flexibility over how they can use powers over traffic movement and new development and provide them with adequate funding to take the best action for their communities, inside and outside the Zones.

In response to the report, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Fleets need consistency, but a blanket ban of all diesel vehicles in city centres would be damaging to businesses – Defra must take a carrot-and-stick approach if it wants to drive the uptake of the least polluting vehicles, and bring the UK into compliance with EU air quality targets. The Committee rightfully recognises that Government incentives are needed to establish a self-sustaining low-emissions vehicle market. The BVRLA has repeatedly asked for in-life incentives that would benefit drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles, but the Government has failed to act.”d taxis should also be fast-tracked.”

Natalie Middleton

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