Motorists back charges and bans on dirty vehicles to tackle pollution

Motorists back charges and bans on dirty vehicles to tackle pollution
A large proportion of motorists have said they would back tough measures such as vehicle bans and charges in a bid to tackle the air pollution problem blighting many parts of the country.

Research carried out for the RAC Report on Motoring has found that more and more drivers are becoming increasingly concerned about air quality.

According to the RAC, the results prove that motorists are as keen as other members of society to bring down pollution levels, despite often being labelled as part of the problem.

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In the survey, 66% of drivers said they would support strong action from the Government aimed at solving the issue of air pollution.

More than half – 55% – said they would be in favour of ministers levying charges on the dirtiest vehicles when they enter polluted areas.

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And another 55% said they would even back measures to prohibit vehicles going into the country’s pollution hotspots.

In addition, the survey revealed strong feelings towards diesel cars, for which demand was shown to be falling in car sales figures released this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The findings show that 57% of those polled would not object to drivers of diesel vehicles being required to pay fees when entering town and city centres.

But such action would not go far enough for 42% of motorists, who said they supported charges for all diesel vehicles driving into areas with the highest levels of pollution.

Attention is increasingly being paid to the issue of air quality, particularly in London, where plans are in place for drivers of dirty vehicles to pay a fee to enter an Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Figures show that around 9,500 Londoners die from long-term exposure to air pollution every year.

Despite this, financial incentives aimed at encouraging drivers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles appear to be fading fast.

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There is currently no indication that the plug-in grant scheme which can help to cover the cost of electric and hybrid vehicles will be extended beyond March 2018.

This is something that the RAC is keen for the Government to clarify its stance towards.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Our research indicates motorists, who are sometimes seen as the enemies when it comes to air quality, actually want to see more done to improve poor air quality that is blighting some local areas – which suggests they want to be part of the solution themselves.

"But we need a considered and consistent approach to tackling the problem.

“There has never been a better time for the Government to set out its long-term approach to incentivise the transition to lower emission, cleaner vehicles.

"The establishment of Clean Air Zones can play a part in tackling poor air quality locally, and it rightly focuses on some of the most polluting types of vehicles including buses, taxis and HGVs, but on its own it is not enough.”

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.