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LowCVP: 5 Ps for influencing uptake of low emission vehicles at local level

The UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership has launched a Good Practice Guide for Local Measures to Encourage the Uptake of Low Emission Vehicles. A key recommendation is that policy measures implemented at the local level should be consistent with each other, that common definitions and vocabulary for low emission vehicles should be established. The Good Practice Guide for Local Measures to Encourage the Uptake of Low Emission Vehicles was prepared for the LowCVP by Urban Foresight.

Released to coincide with the LowCVP’s 2015 Annual Conference which features a discussion on mobility in future cities, the LowCVP has identified five ‘P’s from the Guide—levers that local authorities can most effectively use to influence low emission vehicle uptake at the local level:

  • Parking: discounts for LEVs or dedicated bays

  • Permits: discounts for LEVs to operate in low emission zones and for residents; preferential permits for LEV taxis

  • 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 five ‘Ps’ are among the most powerful of the range of options available to local policy makers as levers to stimulate local LEV uptake, according to the guide.

Light duty vehicles contribute much of the air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in towns and cities across the UK. Low emission vehicles have a critical role to play in addressing these two challenges and in contributing to sustainable transport systems. Action taken at the local level can be instrumental in complementing national policies by making LEVs more convenient, cost effective and desirable to use.

This Good Practice Guide aims to assist local and city authorities in understanding a broad range of policy measures and initiatives that can be utilized to encourage the uptake of LEVs. The Guide—published to a timescale intended to benefit the bidders for the £35m available from OLEV’s Go Ultra Low City scheme—covers 12 distinct areas including planning; procurement; taxis and private hire vehicles; parking and infrastructure provision.

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.

Currently, 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. The Guide highlights that a variety of low emission vehicle fuels and technologies should be encouraged at a local level.

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. A key recommendation from this Guide is that policy measures implemented at the local level are consistent with each other, in order to create coordination between areas rather than confusion.

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.

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