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Birmingham clean air zone is ‘wake-up call to businesses’

Plans to charge car and van drivers for entering Birmingham city centre within two years should serve as a wake-up call to businesses in the area to look at cleaner forms of transport and new means of acquiring vehicles.

Andrew Leech, managing director of Fleet Evolution

Andrew Leech, managing director of Fleet Evolution

So says Fleet Evolution, which is urging local businesses to look at deploying cleaner vehicles for their employees to avoid charges.

The plans – now out for public consultation – will see cars and vans face charges of between £6-£12.50 according to council documents if they don’t meet set emissions standards:  Euro 4 for petrol vehicles, which are those registered before about 2006, and Euro 6 for diesels, typically those registered before about 2015.

Based on 2016 data, the local authority has estimated that about half of all cars would fall within the charging scheme based on these emission standards, and would include about 55% of all vehicles, when HGVs, vans, coaches and minibuses were taken into account.

In response, Andrew Leech, managing director of Fleet Evolution, said businesses should act now to provide their employees with access to low polluting vehicles through employee benefit schemes such as salary sacrifice.

“Car salary sacrifice schemes genuinely promote the uptake of less polluting, more environmentally friendly cars which help companies reach their targets for carbon reduction and corporate responsibility. And in the case of the new clear air zones, they will help employees travel charge-free into city centres with even the most stringent environmental controls,” he commented.

“On top of that, our schemes result in a tangible and clearly demonstrable increase in staff retention and an improvement in recruitment for employers who introduce them,” added Leech.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.