Banning new petrol and diesel cars is just a smokescreen for “weak and timid” government air quality plans, according to the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport.
The institute argues that the only way to bring down excessive concentrations of NO2 is to charge non-compliant vehicles to enter clean air zones.
Policy chief Daniel Parker-Klein said: “Tens of thousands of people die prematurely each year because of air pollution, and yet government in its Air Quality proposals fails to provide an effective lead.
“The government’s own research concludes that charging non-complaint vehicles to enter Clean Air Zones is the only way to quickly and cost effectively improve air quality. By not providing political ‘cover’ and requiring local authorities to make the case for charging, only once all other routes are exhausted, is a wholly inadequate approach.”
However, the institute has backed proposals for local authorities to consider the simple exclusion of old, polluting vehicles from CAZs as an alternative to charging; as is common in some 200 towns and cities in 13 countries across Europe.
And while it welcomed the plan to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel engine cars and vans from 2040, it argued that it did nothing to help the immediate air quality problem. “This announcement has been described as a ‘smokescreen’ to draw attention away from the ineffectiveness of the immediate plans.”