Thursday 28th Feb 2019
Public understanding of the UK Government’s high profile Clean Air Zones initiative is worryingly low just weeks ahead of the introduction of London’s low emission zone, research commissioned by Hitachi Capital UK has found.
A study of 2,000 UK adults found that more than half of consumers (57 per cent) don’t know what a Clean Air or Ultra-Low Emission Zone actually is.
The research discovered that almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) are also unaware whether their vehicle will be exempt from charges designed to encourage drivers to opt for more environmentally-friendly transport methods.
Currently, planned requirements will apply to most diesel cars registered before September 2015, and petrol vehicles registered before January 2006. With an estimated 37.7 million licensed vehicles on the road, at an average age of eight years old, the cost implications of CAZs to consumers and businesses could be huge.
However, amongst those aware of what Clean Air Zones are, support is high for the introduction of the scheme. Half of motorists (50 per cent) approve of the zones being introduced, even if they will be charged to enter, and a third of people (33 per cent) think it would be ‘fair’ if companies pass the additional costs on to customers.
Jon Lawes, Managing Director for Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, said: “Despite the potential dent to our wallets, our research shows significant support for charging schemes that tackle pollution in our major towns and cities.
“It’s clear those polled believe something needs to be done – and fast. However, confusion exists amongst drivers as to whether their vehicle meets the required emissions standards to avoid these charges.
“Considering the average age of cars and vans on our roads is over eight years, vast numbers of diesel drivers in particular may be unaware they could be driving vehicles that would incur charges under the emission standards requirements.”
The Clean Air Zones scheme is part of the Government’s Air Quality Plan, which aims to reduce pollution and make the air cleaner throughout the UK. Major urban areas including Birmingham and Leeds are due to introduce the zones in 2020.
In London, mayor Sadiq Khan has also been vocal in his support for an Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which, from April 8 this year, will start to see higher polluting vehicles charged £12.50 a day for use in the capital.
Buses, coaches and HGVs that meet Euro VI and cars, vans and taxis that meet Euro 6 (typically diesel vehicles registered after 1 September 2015) and Euro 4 emission standards (on average petrol vehicles registered after January 2006) will be exempt from any charges or restrictions.
 Department for Transport Vehicle Licensing Statistics published in April 2018
To view and download ‘The Road to a Greener Future’ infographic summarising research we conducted among 2,000 motorists in February 2019 click here.
To find out more about our vehicle solutions services, please click here.
How much do you agree with the statement: ‘I am in favour of Clean Air Zones where motorists will be charged to enter the zone’
- Strongly agree 19%
- Somewhat agree 31%
- Neither agree or disagree 28%
- Somewhat disagree 13%
- Strongly disagree 9%
How significant a problem do you think vehicle emissions are in the UK?
- Very significant 28%
- Somewhat significant 50%
- Neither significant or insignificant 18%
- Somewhat insignificant 3%
- Very insignificant 1%
Did you know diesel cars registered before 1 September 2015 and petrol cars registered before 1 January 2006 will incur daily Clean Air Zone charges?
- Yes 21%
- No 79%
How much do you agree with the following statement? ‘I think the general move towards electric vehicles is a good thing’
- Strongly agree 24%
- Somewhat agree 38%
- Neither agree or disagree 27%
- Somewhat disagree 7%
- Strongly disagree 4%
How much do you agree with the following statement? ‘As a motorist, I think I am too reliant on my car’
- Strongly agree 15%
- Somewhat agree 32%
- Neither agree or disagree 21%
- Somewhat disagree 21%
- Strongly disagree 11%