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MAG UK: ‘No charges for motorcycles in Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone’

FEMA member MAG UK has won a landmark campaign to gain exemption for motorcycles of all ages from Birmingham City Council’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

At a special meeting of the Cabinet, Birmingham City Council has approved its CAZ business case submission. Once approved by Government, the proposal can be implemented with the launch of the zone scheduled for January 2020. Birmingham is the first authority outside London to propose the ‘class D’ clean air zone model that allows for charging of all vehicles including private transport.

The Motorcycle Action Group UK (MAG UK) has consistently argued that motorcycles act within the transport system as net reducers of congestion and pollution, pointing to studies that demonstrate that a simple 10% modal shift from single-occupancy cars to motorcycles and scooters will yield a 40% reduction in congestion for all road users and result in a 7.5% reduction in CO2, a 5.5% reduction in NO2 and a 20% reduction in particulate matter.

MAG UK’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: “We are delighted that our campaign has resulted in the proposal to exempt all motorcycles from charges in the zone. This is a decision that will impact riders not just in Birmingham, but throughout the country. Birmingham City Council has recognised and accepted our position that motorcycles are net reducers of harmful emissions and thus should be exempt from charges. I have found Birmingham City Council to be informed, serious about their emissions policy development and capable of understanding the science, and credit to them for taking such a mature view.”

Colin Brown continues: “This decision sets the precedent for all future CAZ proposals in other parts of the country, demonstrating a clear endorsement of the fact that motorcycles contribute to improving air quality. The exemption from charges is a vital first step towards a policy to positively promote modal shift to motorcycles. There is pioneering work on this policy being done already in Northamptonshire, and we look forward to discussing with Birmingham City Council and Transport for West Midlands how application of this policy in the region will accelerate the journey towards compliance of legal targets for NO2 emissions. Achieving this goal will remove the threat of fines for non-compliance and benefit the entire community.”

‘The exemption from charges is a vital first step towards a policy to positively promote modal shift to motorcycles’

MAG UK’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Opik, said: “This excellent result in the West Midlands now has significant implications for the legitimacy of the poor decisions being made in London. We will be continuing our efforts to persuade mayor Sadiq Khan to reverse the illogical and counterproductive charging of pre-Euro 3 motorcycles in his Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, due to come into effect in April 2019.”

Chairman of MAG UK, Selina Lavender, said: “We are thrilled with this outcome, the result of much hard work by MAG’s political unit and the support of MAG members and supporters. We thank the efforts of all those who supported our campaign, signed the petition and responded as individuals to the consultation. Working together we can see great results, not just for riders, but for the whole community.”