It has been recently reported that a new government funded scheme will be offering some of the most polluting motorists in parts of the United Kingdom, a public transport and taxis congestion easing credit of up to £3,000 to stop using their vehicles. The aim of the scheme is to improve air quality in built-up areas, so the credits can also be used on greener transport like bicycles and electric scooters.
The government need to reduce car dependency in big cities to bring the level of congestion and air pollution down to meet the ambitious emission targets that have been set.
From the motor trade industry, AA president Edmund King pointed out that the ‘bizarre’ initiative came at a time when many car companies have committed to going electric. Motor trade manufacturer Ford recently pledged to only sell electric cars in Europe by 2030.
Mr King said, ‘The money would probably be better spent on providing electric charging points for those without off-street parking rather than giving mobility credits for services that people will use when they need to or feel safe to.’
The West Midlands scheme being trialled in Coventry over two years and is starting in spring 2021, it’s being paid for as part of a £22million ‘future transport’ government funded initiative. It will target all drivers of diesel cars built before 2016 and petrol vehicles built before 2006.
Vehicle owners will need to agree to having their car towed away for the duration of the trial and will be given between £1,500 and £3,000 to spend on alternative transport, the motorists will also need to notify their motor insurance provider of their change in circumstances.
A similar programme could also be rolled out in Hampshire, the county council are currently pondering a ‘mobility credit scheme’ for residents who agree to give up their vehicle for good.
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West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street said, “We have a number of candidates lined up in Coventry following a public appeal for volunteers last year and are putting processes in place to allow them to scrap their old cars in exchange for transport credits later this spring.”
Nicholas Lyes from the RAC commented, “The success of schemes like this depends on the public’s confidence in the affordability, reliability and convenience of the alternative forms of transport available to them. Our research shows a majority don’t see public transport as suiting their needs and therefore may be loath to give up their vehicles altogether. For these people, a switch to an electric car is perhaps the preferred option when they’re in a position to do so.”
The trial will be analysed to assess the investment required to achieve change in travel usage for the long term, it is hoped that taxpayer contributions would eventually be replaced by funding from private companies.
Due the COVID-19 pandemic the number of miles covered by vehicles in the UK reduced in 2020, but in 2019 motor vehicles racked up over 365 billion miles between them, which represented an increase of over 10 percent over five years.