Local authority guide to encouraging uptake of low-emission vehicles launched

The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (Low CVP) has launched a good practice guide for ‘Local Measures to Encourage the Uptake of Low Emission Vehicles’.

This new guide aims to assist local and city authorities in understanding a broad range of
policy measures and initiatives that can be used to encourage the uptake of LEVs.

It covers 12 distinct areas including planning, procurement and infrastructure provision.

A key recommendation is that policy measures implemented at local level should be consistent with each other and that common definitions and vocabulary for low-emission vehicles should be established.

With 12 cities shortlisted for the government’s £35m Go Ultra Low City scheme now preparing their final
bids, Low CVP said the guide provides a wide range of options that bidders may employ.

Five ‘P’s are identified in the guide, which are the levers that local authorities can most effectively use to influence low-emission vehicle uptake at local level. These are:

  • Parking – discounts for LEVs or dedicated bays;
  • Permits – discounts for LEVs to operate in low-emission zones and for residents;
  • Planning – embedding consideration for LEV fuelling infrastructure into local
    development;
  • Procurement – local authorities specifying LEVs for their own fleets and setting leading
    standards for their service providers;
  • Promotion – of the benefits to business and via educational activity within the local
    community.

The Low CVP said light duty vehicles – cars, vans and taxis – contribute much of the air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in towns and cities across the UK and that low-emission vehicles have a critical role to play in tackling this.

Action taken at local level can be vital to complement national policies by making LEVs more convenient, cost effective and desirable to use, it added.

Examples of successful private public partnerships are explained in combination with case studies of
good practice in the UK and internationally.

The Guide outlines challenges local authorities face in adopting LEV policies, and provides recommendations for how these can be overcome.

Low CVP said the market for a variety of LEVs, such as battery electric and plug-in hybrids, is in its early stages and requires national and local incentives to stimulate consumer demand and increase vehicle numbers.

Local authorities are advised to set appropriate definitions for low emissions, prescribing the most up-to-date Euro engine emission standards and aligning CO2 emission standards with national policy
guidelines.

Research undertaken in developing the Guide found that air quality was the most powerful driver for
local authorities to implement low-emissions policies, followed by mitigating climate change.

Derek McCreadie, low-emission officer, City of York Council, said: “City of York Council recognises
the importance of using local policy measures to support the adoption of low emission vehicles. The
new Low CVP ‘Good Practice Guide’ offers a broad range of case studies and innovative policy ideas
that can be replicable across any local government context.”
About the LowCVP
The LowCVP was established in 2003 and is a public-private partnership that exists to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and create opportunities for UK businesses. Nearly 200 organisations are engaged from diverse backgrounds including automotive and fuel supply chains, government, vehicle users, academics, environment groups and others.