City leaders call for £1.5bn Clean Air Fund

 

Mayors and political leaders from major cities - including Manchester and Liverpool - want to provide residents and businesses up to £6,000 to upgrade to cleaner vehicles.

According to UK100, a cross-party group of local leaders, towns and cities could see an economic boost of £6.5 billion if a network of up to 30 adequately-funded Clean Air Zones is established across the country.

However, to make the network a reality, the group is calling for £1 billion from government and £500 million from business to help citizens and businesses with the transition. So far, the government has only made £220 million available.

Greater Manchester dilemma

Earlier this year, Greater Manchester requested £116 million from government to support small businesses affected by its Clean Air Plan, but ministers declined - despite firms facing the need to upgrade any non-compliant vans and HGVs in as little as 18 months to avoid being penalised.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said that he does not want businesses to have to pay Clean Air Zone charges, but external funding needed to be secured to help support the switch to compliant vehicles.

Supporting the transition

The requested £1.5 billion funding would be used to offer lower income residents and small businesses incentives of between £2,000 and £6,000 to either upgrade their existing vehicles or scrap older, polluting vehicles and switch to a cleaner alternative.

As well as support for buying a cleaner vehicles, the cash could also be put towards car clubs, bike hire schemes or a public transport season ticket.

In addition, a partnership with industry could contribute to a national vehicle renewal scheme, similar to how car manufacturers have had to contribute to the roll-out of clean vehicles in Germany.

Polly Billington, director of UK100, said “sensible investment” made sound economic sense because it would boost the health of communities and save the NHS money.

 

 

Posted under General Interest and Public / Government / Charity on 11 September 2019