Post T-Charge, switch from ownership to usership in cities is needed, say industry experts

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Author: | Updated: 23 Oct 2017 15:40

Following the introduction of the T-Charge in central London, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has published a blueprint on how to move away from diesel vehicles in urban areas - including switching from vehicle ownership to vehicle usership in big cities.

Although the BVRLA has welcomed the fact that the T-Charge does not penalise drivers of newer cleaner diesel vehicles and instead focusses on pre-Euro 4/IV diesel and petrol vehicles travelling in the zone, it believes that diesels have “no long-term future in our cities”, especially with other UK cities likely to follow London’s lead by 2020.

Older diesels contribute to urban air pollution in particular.

The report has four main conclusions:

  • The government should focus its efforts on reducing diesel car use in urban areas. Around one-third of car use is on urban roads and electric and hybrid cars represent an increasingly affordable alternative;
  • A steady transition away from using diesel vehicles will enable the supply chain and consumers to move to alternative technologies without incurring too many costs;
  • Government policy should focus on trying to reduce car ownership instead of just choosing alternative vehicles. A scrappage scheme that provides mobility credits for public transport, car club and car rental journeys could stimulate this behaviour change;
  • The government needs to provide a consistent clean air zone policy framework across the UK to avoid placing extra burdens or costs on people and businesses driving between urban areas.
  • Is diesel is still best for long-distance driving?

    Still a future for long–distance diesel drivers?

    Despite a surge in the number of hybrids being leased, the BVRLA is keen to point out that there is still very much a future for diesel for personal and business transport – particularly for those who don’t regularly drive in urban areas.

    BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney said: “Diesel vehicles play an essential role in transporting goods and people around the country, but the emissions they produce on low-speed urban roads means they have no long-term future in our cities”.

    “We need a carefully blended set of incentives and restrictions that removes the oldest, most polluting diesel vehicles without crippling our economy or punishing people for decisions they have already made.”

    “The vehicle rental and leasing industry has a huge stake in this transition and we look forward to working with local and national government to deliver a workable solution.”

    Lease cars are among the cleanest on the road.

    Responding to the release of the UK Air Quality Plan in June, the BVRLA has previously called for a carefully blended combination of incentives and restrictions that encourage more sustainable travel behaviour, but don’t punish people for decisions that have already been made based on previous government policy.

    Here’s a full list of what the BVRLA has called on the government to do:

    • Set out guidance relating to Clean Air Zone policy to ensure consistency;
    • Work with the BVRLA to develop engaging campaigns to promote vehicle rental and leasing;
    • Provide confidence by stating that all Euro 6 emissions standard vehicles will not incur any costs or restrictions;
    • Make sure any new taxes don’t punish individuals or business because they made their decisions based on previous policy;
    • Ensure diesel scrappage schemes are flexible and targeted at the right audience;
    • Continue to fund Plug-In hybrid and zero-emission vehicle grants and make sure incentives keep up with technology;
    • Create a more consistent tax policy than the current system.

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