Political and business leaders, including the head of the BVRLA, have joined forces to urge stringent government action on air pollution.
Signed at an International Clean Air Summit delivered by the Mayor of London, World Health Organization (WHO) and UK100, a joint declaration from 22 signatories outlines four priorities that the Government needs to take forward as urgent actions. These include adopting WHO air pollution standards, as a minimum, which they say should be included in the Environment Bill along with a legally binding timetable with an earlier date for reporting, and an acknowledgement of the need for resources to implement the changes at local level.
The Clean Air Declaration also calls for more funding and more powers for local authorities to enable low income households and small businesses to switch to cleaner forms of transport. This includes the creation of a £1.5bn scrappage scheme, which would offer incentives of between £2,000 and £6,000 to either upgrade existing vehicles or get rid of older, polluting vehicles and switch to a cleaner form of transport such as electric vehicles or public transport. This in turn could then enable a national network of up to 30 Clean Air Zones across England – as urged last month.
And the Summit, which takes place as MPs prepare to debate new proposed clean air legislation as part of the Environment Bill, sees city and business leaders call for increased powers to tackle the clean air and climate emergency; and a stronger Clean Air Strategy that includes a roadmap to 2030.
The summit is being attended by senior business leaders including Amazon, Google, Royal Mail, British Gas and Enterprise Rent-a-Car. 16 Mayors and local leaders from across the country including Birmingham, London, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester have also supported the declaration.
The BVRLA has also lent its support as it highlighted how the fleet sector is already leading the delivery of the UK’s zero-emission road transport ambitions and reducing air pollution in cities and towns.
Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive, said: “The fleet sector is an important bridge to achieving a net zero emissions future and reducing emissions in cities and towns. The environmental credentials of BVRLA member fleets show they outperform privately owned vehicles on carbon emissions, future Clean Air Zone/London Ultra Low Emission Zone compliance, Euro 6 Standards and road safety. Our sector recognises its influential role in this agenda, and we are willing to play our part.”
Data for 2019 in the BVRLA’s Fleet Sustainability Credentials shows that vehicle rental and leasing companies are already leading the transition to cleaner transport, with 100% of the car rental fleet and 96% of leased cars being CAZ-compliant; significantly ahead of the average of 62% for all UK cars.
The results are even starker for the commercial vehicle sector – the largest target for most local authority CAZs. Only 21% of the UK van fleet is currently CAZ-compliant, compared to over two-thirds (67%) of all leased vans and 88% of the rental van fleet.
Edward Kulperger, VP Europe at telematics giant Geotab, also commented: “Geotab believes that both the private and public sector need to come together to accelerate the adoption of connected transportation initiatives. The routing of people and goods through our communities by leveraging big data, electric and alternative fuel vehicles will reduce NOx, particulate matter and GHG while providing health and socio-economic benefits to our communities. Our society is at a crossroads. We need to commit significant investment in infrastructure and make wise choices to leave our planet better off for future generations.”