Birmingham should focus on HGVs to clean its air

17th August 2018
The consultation on Birmingham City Council’s clean air zone, released on the 4th July, closes today, 17th August. Responding to the consultation the Natural Gas Vehicle Network, (NGVN) calls for the targeting of action on diesel HGVs and for greater levels of investment in public transport.

Mike Foster, CEO, NGVN said:

Diesel HGVs emit disproportionately higher amounts of pollutants than cars. Just 6 per cent of vehicle miles driven in the UK are by HGVs and buses, yet they are responsible for 48 per cent of nitrogen oxides. Whereas with smaller vehicles, 94 per cent of vehicle miles driven account for only 52 per cent of roadside pollution. And when you factor in that HGVs and buses account for fewer than 2 per cent of actual vehicles in the UK, the polluting impact of large vehicles is disproportionately high and that should be the focus of any Local Authority.

Switching from diesel to natural gas HGVs for these large vehicles will bring about huge air quality improvements and reduce carbon emissions too. We believe that gas powered HGVs are the only alternative to Diesel HGVs, and the charge should specifically target Diesel HGVs in order to encourage businesses to switch. The aim of any clean air zone is to encourage a shift in behaviour and we believe this charge on HGVs should encourage companies to switch their fleet to lower emission gas powered HGVs.

‘Birmingham’s clean air zone rightly targets the most polluting HGVs with higher daily charges, however, we would also like to see more investment in public transport and the creation of park and ride centres outside of the zone.

With that said, we do agree with the boundaries of the zone and am pleased action is being taken on air quality.’

 You can read the full consultation response here.