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Majority of motorists do not support ULEZ-type schemes

The reasons given for not supporting schemes such as ULEZ include the belief that people can’t afford to upgrade their cars (77%), that they are just another tax to raise money for councils or the Government (68%) or that schemes are unaffordable for people using their cars regularly (63%). A third (33%) of those against schemes said they were part of an ‘anti-car agenda’, while 35% believe they are ineffective at addressing pollution issues
London ULEZ to extend to North and South circular roads Brian Minkoff Shutterstock.com_

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3 April 2024

 

UK motorists are split between supporting and opposing schemes such as ULEZ in London and CAZ in Birmingham, finds new research from The Green Insurer, which is focused on helping drivers reduce carbon emissions and drive in a more environmentally friendly way.

Almost half (45%) of motorists support the schemes, which are designed to help improve air quality by reducing the number of vehicles in cities that don’t meet emissions standards. Just over four-in 10 (42%) would welcome their expansion into more cities.

By contrast, 55% of drivers are not in favour of current schemes, while 58% would not support the launch of similar schemes in other areas.

When asked why those in favour of schemes support them, 79% said that schemes are reducing pollution in cities, that pollution is a major health issue (64%), that action has to be taken to improve the environment (56%) and that schemes are vital in helping reduce global warming (49%). A further 26% said they were in favour because their cars are compliant, and 9% said upgrading cars to be compliant is straightforward.

The reasons given for not supporting schemes such as ULEZ include the belief that people can’t afford to upgrade their cars (77%), that they are just another tax to raise money for councils or the Government (68%) or that schemes are unaffordable for people using their cars regularly (63%). A third (33%) of those against schemes said they were part of an ‘anti-car agenda’, while 35% believe they are ineffective at addressing pollution issues

The focus on costs being the major problem with schemes for many motorists could be partly explained by the finding that 16% of drivers had been surprised to have to pay a charge under schemes like ULEZ. While 12% of drivers regularly pay a charge because they drive an older car into areas covered by schemes, 14% deliberately avoid such areas and 29% say they don’t pay charges because their vehicles are compliant.

Just 10% of drivers had changed their vehicle in order to become compliant with schemes, rising to 23% of drivers based in London, which has the most wide-ranging scheme in the UK.

Another impact on driving behaviour has been a reduction in distances travelled by car, with 16% of motorists saying they drive fewer miles as a result of schemes such as ULEZ and 6% using public transport more often. Drivers in London are more likely to drive less miles (29%) and to use public transport (12%) because of ULEZ.

The Green Insurer has launched car insurance policies that customers can buy direct from its website at www.thegreeninsurer.com and through leading price comparison websites.

A customer’s Green Driving Score will be used to calculate their reward points and will also affect their renewal premiums, with discounts for people who drive in a fuel efficient way. Policies are linked to a mobile app, which monitors how customers drive.

Every mile driven by customers will be offset using a range of carbon offset projects which are assessed for their carbon and environmental effectiveness as well as the social impact on the people and communities where they are based.

Paul Baxter, Chief Executive, The Green Insurer, said: Schemes like ULEZ and CAZ are already introducing benefits such as cleaner air and we can only anticipate that they will be expanded into more areas of the UK as such benefits are understood in more detail.

“It makes sense for motorists to take action now to have a compliant car, and if it’s not possible to replace a vehicle outright to take action such as driving fewer miles or using public transport. We’ve designed our insurance policies to reward more careful driving with our rewards scheme, while also giving drivers the peace of mind that they are reducing carbon emissions.”

 

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Chris Wright

Chris Wright

Chris Wright has been covering the automotive industry nationally and internationally for 30 years. Following spells with consumer titles he became News Editor of Automotive Management (AM), Editor of Automotive International, International Editor for Detroit-based Automotive News, and Editor of Dealer Update. He has also co-authored several FT Management Reports and contributes regularly to Justauto.com

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