New congestion charge proposal hits fleets, BVRLA claims
In its consultation TfL said: ‘From 1 July 2013, all electric vehicles and cars/vans (light goods vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) which emit 75g/km of CO2 or less and meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality, would qualify for a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge if they are registered with TfL.
'Plug-in hybrid electric cars and vans that are on the TfL approved list are currently eligible for the Electric Vehicle Discount and would qualify for the new Ultra Low Emission Discount.’
While the inclusion of vans has been welcomed, the BVRLA has said it believes the new emissions threshold has been set too low and is merely a revenue-raising exercise.
‘Adopting a technology neutral stance will bring the Congestion Charge in line with the Plug-in Car Grant and other fiscal incentives like Benefit-in-Kind Tax,’ said BVRLA chief executive, John Lewis.
‘A technology neutral approach is something we have been lobbying on for some time, in addition to the need to offer van operators a low-carbon incentive.’
The changes are introduced as part of TfL’s plans for a new Ultra-Low Emission Discount, which would come into effect on 1st July 2013, replacing the old Electric and Greener Vehicle Discounts. Affected drivers given a two-year "sunset period" before losing their entitlement.
'Fleet operators at least have some warning this time, but they should remember that a vehicle that qualifies for a 100% discount could lose it at any stage,' said Lewis.
TfL’s plans were outlined in a new consultation document which is open until February 8. The BVRLA will also re-iterate its calls for rental cars and vans to be exempted from the Congestion Charge.
'It is ridiculous that London cabs can be exempted from the congestion charge but not rental cars,' adds Lewis.
'Rental cars are significantly cleaner than the average taxi and independent research has shown that they can play a major role in reducing car ownership and parking congestion in urban areas like London.'