Commenting on news that the Government has launched its consultation on the implementation of Clean Air Zones in England, RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said:
“Poor air quality is not only caused by older, dirtier vehicles, but can also be linked by traffic hotspots and idle engines. It’s welcome that the framework recognises this, with due attention paid to road layouts and optimising traffic light conditions to improve traffic flow. There may be some merits in allowing ultra-low emission vehicles to use bus lanes where appropriate, but some other aspects could be a recipe for road safety chaos and confusion, in particular exempting ultra-low emission vehicles from one-way streets.
“Motorists are more likely to switch to ultra-low emission vehicles if there is a financial incentive for them to do so, so Government plug-in grants have been welcome. Likewise, more favourable parking rates and exemptions from congestion charging schemes seem to work. However, changes to vehicle excise duty (VED) rates for new cars from 2017 are likely to have the opposite effect, and unless you are purchasing a pure electric vehicle, your tax rate will be no more favourable from a more polluting vehicle after the first year.”