The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has questioned Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to lower the emissions threshold for the congestion charge discount from 100g/km to 75g/km.
TfL is proposing to replace the current Greener Vehicle Discount with an Ultra Low Emissions Discount, which would come into effect in July 2013.
It would provide a 100% discount from the congestion charge for pure electric vehicles or those that emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 emissions standard for air quality.
Affected drivers would be given a two-year ‘sunset period’ before losing their entitlement.
The BVRLA believes the new emissions threshold has been set too low and is merely a revenue-raising exercise.
John Lewis, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: “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.
“This is particularly important when reviewing fleet policies and operational costs. You should also bear in mind that the discount is not automatically transferable if the vehicle is sold.”
However, the BVRLA welcomes making the congestion charge discount ‘technology neutral’ and available to vans.
“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,” Lewis said.
“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.”
TfL’s plans were outlined in a new consultation document which is open until February 8, 2013.
The BVRLA will be responding with the above points, and will also re-iterate its calls for rental cars and vans to be exempt from the congestion charge.
“It is ridiculous that London cabs can be exempt from the congestion charge but not rental cars,” added 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.”
*Vehicle Rental: Environmental and sustainability credentials, published by TRL in December 2011