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Motorists are to be given up to £3,000 to replace their cars with greener forms of transport.
Drivers in built-up areas with the most polluting cars will receive public money to abandon their vehicle for ‘credits’.
These will be used on alternative modes of transport such as bicycles and electric scooters but will also work on congestion-easing forms like public transport, car clubs and taxis.
It is hoped that the move will reduce car dependency in major cities.
The scheme will be trialled for two years in Coventry this spring, targeted at those with diesel cars built before 2016 and petrol motors before 2006, according to The Times.
Motorists in the area who agree to have their car towed away for the duration of the trial will be given between £1,500 and £3,000 to spend on alternative transport.
The West Midlands scheme is being paid for as part of a £22million ‘future transport’ initiative funded by the government.
Andy Street, the West Midlands mayor, said: ‘We have a number of candidates lined up in Coventry following a public appeal for volunteers last year and are putting processes in place to allow them to scrap their old cars in exchange for transport credits later this spring.’
A similar programme could also take place in Hampshire, where the county council is pondering a ‘mobility credit scheme’ for residents who agree to give up their car for good.
Though the miles dropped in 2020 due to the pandemic, in 2019 vehicles collectively covered 365.5billion miles – 278.2 of which were cars and taxis – representing an increase of almost 11 percent in five years.
Xavier Brice, chief executive of cycling and walking charity Sustrans, said: ‘It is great to see local authorities considering new ways to reduce car dependency, including mobility credit.
Better, more affordable, public transport is critical to combating air pollution and climate change.’
He said car use accounted for most of the roadside air pollution and carbon emissions.
However, AA president Edmund King pointed out that the ‘bizarre’ initiative came at a time when many car companies have committed to going electric.
Earlier this week Ford pledged to only sell electric cars in Europe by 2030.
He said: ‘The money would probably be better spent on providing electric charging points for those without off-street parking rather than giving mobility credits for services that people will use when they need to or feel safe to.’