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New Birmingham vehicle charging plan is 'wake-up call' for businesses, says Fleet Evolution

New Birmingham vehicle charging plan is 'wake-up call' for businesses, says Fleet Evolution

A new congestion charge set to be introduced in Birmingham city centre within two years is a ‘wake-up call’ for businesses in the area to look at cleaner forms of transport and new means of acquiring vehicles.

So says Tamworth-based car benefits and fleet management specialist Fleet Evolution, which is urging local businesses to consider acquiring cleaner vehicles for their employees to beat the planned congestion charge.

Birmingham City Council said this week that by 2020 it was looking to impose a levy of between £6-£10 on cars travelling into its planned Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which covers every road within the city centre and includes the popular Bullring Shopping Centre and Arena Birmingham music venue.

Vehicles entering the CAZ will be charged if they fall below set emissions standards: Euro 4 for petrol vehicles, which are those registered before about 2006, and Euro 6 for diesels, typically those registered before about 2015.

Andrew Leech (pictured), managing director of Fleet Evolution, which was awarded ‘Go Ultra Low Company’ status last November, said that businesses should act now to provide their employees with access to low polluting vehicles through employee benefit schemes such as salary sacrifice.

“As the UK struggles to meet European clean air deadlines, we will see increasing numbers of major cities introducing chargeable zones within their centres where only the least-polluting cars and vans will be able to enter free of charge,” he said.

“However, city centre employers could establish a major differentiator for themselves by providing staff with access to low-cost, low polluting new cars which will meet the toughest emissions regulations.”

Over the past 12 months, Fleet Evolution has seen the average CO2 emissions of new cars supplied under its schemes fall to 78g/km.

“Car salary sacrifice schemes genuinely promote the uptake of less polluting, more environmentally friendly cars which help companies reach their targets for carbon reduction and corporate responsibility,” Leech said.

“And in the case of the new clear air zones, they will help employees travel charge-free into city centres with even the most stringent environmental controls.”

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