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A high level campaign for the UK Government to increase funds to clean-up the ag ...

A high level campaign for the UK Government to increase funds to clean-up the ageing buses, lorries, vans and taxis operating in UK cities was launched on 12 February 2004. The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), which represents companies that develop pollution control technologies, is warning that failure to clean-up commercial vehicles will put at risk the UK’s legal obligations to meet air quality standards. Measures to clean-up commercial vehicles to drive down pollution levels in Britain’s cities recently came up against a major road block when government funding to fit such technologies to commercial vehicles unexpectedly ground to a halt. The Department for Transport provides £12mn/y funding through the Energy Savings Trust (EST) CleanUp programme to retrofit pollution control equipment, such as particulate traps, to older commercial vehicles in order to improve air quality in pollution hotspots. The UK faces tough European legal air quality targets in 2005 and 2010 and the CleanUp programme is an important part of achieving these standards. However the funding for the CleanUp programme unexpectedly ran out early in 2003/2004 as it was unable to meet demand from vehicle operators to fit technology to cut their pollution. The EST is now proposing to reduce the levels of grants offered in order to ‘manage demand’ for the programme in 2004/2005 . The EIC has, therefore, launched a high level campaign for increased funding for the CleanUp programme to maintain grant levels, and to match the demand from vehicle operators for clean up technology. The first step in this campaign is the tabling of an ‘Early Day Motion’ in the House of Commons. EIC will also be raising the issue directly with key Ministers and writing to MPs asking for their support. At present, CleanUp pays for up to 75% of the installation costs for cleaning up older vehicles, depending on the technology. At this level, vehicle owners are motivated to pay for the remainder, as well as additional costs such as maintenance, because they can earn the money back through reduced vehicle excise duty (VED) payments. EIC argues that the EST proposals to reduce the grant levels below their present levels could have a dramatic effect on demand.

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