Clean Air Zones hammering drivers with charges as they brand schemes ‘out of touch’

PMQs: PM says Clean Air Zone is ‘unworkable’

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More and more cities have launched some form of an emissions reduction area which charges polluting vehicles to drive through the city centre, or face heavy fines. The aim is to reduce emissions in an area, as well as promote other forms of transport and incentivise drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles.

Amjid Javaid, Managing Director at DG Cars in Nottingham, said that Clean Air Zones were vital, but that more needed to be done to protect drivers.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, he said: “The link between poor air quality and respiratory illness is well known, and the introduction of Clean Air Zones is an initiative that the DG Group fully supports.

”There are, however, concerns surrounding the financial impact this will have on both the business and drivers.

“The average charge to drive into a Clean Air Zone is around £8 per day, and failure to pay this charge results in a hefty fine of up to £160.

“Electric and hybrid vehicles – which are typically exempt from charges – are very expensive, and with the reduction in money available via Government grants, you have to question if drivers are in a position to afford these in preparation for the expansion of Clean Air Zones around the country.”

Emission-based charging zones are in place across the UK with London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Clean Air Zones in Birmingham, Bath and Portsmouth.

Many other cities are set to launch a form of a CAZ or a Low Emission Zone including Edinburgh, Bradford, Manchester and Glasgow.

These changes are set to see thousands more drivers being charged for driving inside city centres with the money raised from the schemes being put into low-emission transport schemes.

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Mr Javaid continued, adding: “With all of these conversations surrounding new regulations, we are witnessing a change in how the entire transport system is being viewed, and at times it does feel that the messaging from the Government can be out of touch with what’s realistic locally.

“For example, if the Government is serious about ditching petrol and diesel cars, then they will need to dramatically improve the UK’s EV charging infrastructure, increase grants and business loans for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to upgrade their fleets.

“They need to ensure EVs are competitively priced for operators, and address the chronic shortage of new vehicles available on the market.”

Many taxi operators and drivers in general have complained of the higher upfront costs of buying an electric vehicle, in comparison with internal combustion engine powered vehicles.

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