A group of city and council leaders from across the country have announced their support for a nationwide scheme to help rid our streets and roads of the most polluting diesel cars, vans and buses.
The mayors and political leaders, who collectively represent 20 million people, signed up to the pledge in advance of the #LoveCleanAir summit convened by The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and the cities network UK100 at Tate Modern on Valentine’s Day 2019. At the summit, political leaders signed pledges promising to establish the toughest air pollution targets in the world, linked to WHO limits and to create an independent clean air watchdog. [link to story 1]
The event was attended by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, and the Chief Executive of the NHS Simon Stevens. Asked about the plans for a national scrappage scheme, Mr Gove said “We’re going to make sure that the Treasury hears loud and clear the united chorus that we need to do even more to make sure that our air is healthy and clean.”
The scheme, which would be targeted at low income families and small businesses, would provide a £2,000 credit towards an ultra-low emission car for anyone scrapping an older, polluting diesel car registered before 2015.
Alternatively, people would be offered credit towards free or cheaper public transport, access to free car clubs or bike hire and purchase schemes. For small businesses, there would be a £3,500 credit for those scrapping a diesel vehicle registered before 2016 to buy a new ultra low emission van or minibus.
Polly Billington, Director of UK100, said: “We know that low income families need a bit of extra help to do the right thing, and are often those most affected by toxic fumes. A national scrappage fund would support hundreds of thousands of people and small businesses to move from older polluting vehicles into clean transport, cycling and walking so we can all love clean air.”
It would be up to local areas to manage the scheme which would be targeted at areas with Clean Air Zones, but research by UK100 shows it would take 300,000 of the most polluting cars off the road, 171,000 of the most polluting vans and potentially even retrofit 18,000 buses to make them ultra low emission, bringing the total to nearly half a million vehicles (484,000).
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “If we’re going to tackle the health crisis and social injustice caused by air pollution it is vital and only fair that a national vehicle scrappage scheme is funded and supported by the government.”
The research by UK100 shows that the scheme would cost approximately £1.5bn, based on an adaptation of a TfL proposal, and could be funded by savings identified in the Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 of £1.7bn annually.
As part of the package, £260 million in London would pay to take 130,000 high polluting vehicles off the roads, and in Manchester £200 million could take all private vehicles that do not meet air quality standards off the road and offer everyone scrapping their old car free public transport.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Air pollution is linked to the equivalent of 1,200 early deaths each year in Greater Manchester alone. Greater Manchester’s ten local authorities are showing leadership in developing a Clean Air Plan. But we urgently need government to guarantee the right level of powers and funding to help us tackle the scale of the problem without damaging our local economies. That includes adequate funding so we can help businesses make the change to cleaner vehicles.”
Signatories to calls for £1,5bn national vehicle renewal fund
- Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London;
- Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester;
- Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region;
- Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield City Region;
- Cllr Adam Larke, Deputy City Mayor, Leicester
- Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council;
- Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority;
- Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council;
- Cllr Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council;
- Cllr Christopher Hammond, Leader of Southampton City Council;
- Cllr Alex Ganotis, Leader of Stockport Council and Greater Manchester Green City Region Lead;
- Cllr James Lewis, Deputy Leader, Executive Board Member for Resources and Sustainability, Leeds City Council;
- Cllr Andrew Waller, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for the Environment, City of York Council;
- Cllr James Noakes, Cabinet Member – Streetscene, Transport & Highways and Air Quality, Liverpool City Council;
- Cllr Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, Nottingham City Council.