Conservative frontbencher John Hayes said the Government won’t ‘penalise those who are worse off’ as they bid to tackle air pollution.
Hayes said the Government are tackling air pollution with ‘new vigour and determination’ via clean-air zones.
Neil Parish, Conservative chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, has proposed a new scrappage scheme which would offer cash to those motorists willing to replace their “older, dirtier” diesel vehicles before clean air zone charging is implemented.
He stated that the scheme would target the ‘pollution hotspots’ in the UK and targets drivers of diesel cars which were made before 2005.
These cars are considered to be the most-polluting and the hotspots are believed to be popular inner city areas.
Mr Parish suggested the scheme could mirror a previous scrappage scheme from 2009 by offering a £2,000 discount on a new vehicle – £1,000 from government and £1,000 from car manufacturers – with funding capped at £500 million or time-limited.
This means, however, that diesel cars manufactured after 2005 would lose out on the £2,000 compensation – which is an estimated six million cars.
Value of these diesel cars is also expected to drop by 40 per cent.
In the debate yesterday Mr Parish stated that diesel drivers would be ‘hit hard’ by the new toxin charges and potential tax reshuffle in the Autumn Budget.
Mr Hayes said air quality in the UK has improved but added: “Let’s be clear – we must do more.”
Clean air zones are being designed and will “support the transition to a low emission economy”.
These zones would support low emission vehicles, promoting cycling, upgrading buses and taxis, plus producing charges for the most polluting vehicles
Despite some diesel owners potentially not receiving compensation ministers discussed how they could lessen the impact of the new policy on “those worst affected”.
Mr Hayes told MPs: “(Mr Parish) has suggested a scrappage scheme which is means-tested could address some of those issues.
“He’s emphasised the fact that his scheme be means-tested and he’s done so with passion – and Hegel says ‘Nothing great in this world has ever been accomplished without passion’ and (Mr Parish) has displayed that very passion today.
“Let me be clear with him, I note his points and I’d ensure they are considered as part of our consultation and part of our work.
“Again, I don’t think you’d get much better than that typically in Westminster Hall.
“It’s absolutely right that the Government’s clean air zone policy recognises all of the challenges that have been set out by various contributors to this debate and tackles the most polluted places knowing low-cost transport is vital to people’s opportunities and to their wellbeing.”
Mr Hayes went on: “This Government is determined to put the wellbeing and welfare and health of our people at the heart of all it does.
“We will bring forward that plan and policy, it will be balanced and it certainly will not penalise those who are worse off.”
Another proposal from the debate was that the Government would compensate drivers in other ways such as a bus ticket or a bike.
Source : EXPRESS