Birmingham City Centre commuters are being urged to swap their higher polluting cars for a £2,000 Swift travel card ahead of the launch of the clean air zone next month.
Birmingham City Council has opened its Clean Air Zone Vehicle Scrappage and Travel Credit Scheme to those likely to be impacted by the new charges .
The £10m scheme aims to support people working in the Clean Air Zone, and who earn less than £30,000 per annum, with the option of scrapping a vehicle that would otherwise be subject to the daily fee.
In return for scrapping a vehicle, successful applicants to the scheme receive a £2,000 grant which can be used on a ‘travel credit’ or to purchase a vehicle that meets the emission standards of the Clean Air Zone.
The council has partnered with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), and the UK’s largest independent car retailer Motorpoint, to operate the scheme.
The travel credit can be applied to a TfWM Swift Card which is redeemed against public transport travel on trains, buses and the Metro. Alternatively, the grant can be used to purchase a Clean Air Zone-compliant vehicle from Motorpoint’s branches in Aston and Oldbury.
Cllr Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council said: “The Swift card offer represents a golden opportunity for people to make that shift from car to public transport which will help improve our air quality , reduce congestion on our roads and help us to achieve our #WM2041 target for a net zero-carbon region.
“Transport for West Midlands and our transport operators are investing in improving public transport throughout the region – including extending the Metro tram to Edgbaston later this year and opening up the Sprint rapid bus corridor on the A34 and A45. So there has never been a better time to swap a costly, high-polluting older car for a £2,000 Swift card and give public transport a go.”
Cllr Waseem Zaffar MBE, Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for transport and the environment, said: “Every year, up to 1,000 people in Birmingham are dying prematurely from conditions linked to air pollution including cancer, heart and lung disease. This is an unacceptable situation. Clean air should be a basic right, not a luxury and just because it is invisible it does not mean we should ignore it.
“The Clean Air Zone will help improve air quality within our city and the Vehicle Scrappage and Travel Credit Scheme helps tackle the source of the problem by removing the most polluting vehicles from our roads. We also need to encourage more people to use public transport as an alternative to the car, especially for shorter journeys, and that is why I am particularly excited by the partnership with TfWM.”
Those interested in the scheme will be able to submit an application and if approved, will be passed to Motorpoint to arrange for their vehicle to be scrapped. Once the old non-compliant vehicle has been scrapped by Motorpoint, the applicant will then receive £2,000 credit off the price of a car from Motorpoint, or a £2,000 credit on a Swift travel card to be used on West Midlands trains, buses and Metro.
The Swift travel card credit can be shared amongst family and friends if required and will typically cover the cost of an average commute for two to three years.
The Vehicle Scrappage and Travel Scheme is open to people who live outside of the Clean Air Zone and who meet all of the following criteria:
- Have been the registered owner/ keeper of a non-compliant vehicle since 10 September 2018
- Earn less than £30,000 a year
- Work at least 18 hours per week at premises within the Clean Air Zone
Kevin Cartwright, General Manager of Motorpoint Birmingham and Oldbury, said: “We’re delighted to see the Clean Air Zone Vehicle Scrappage and Travel Scheme go live and with it the opportunity to further reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions in the city.
“Motorpoint has hundreds of low mileage, nearly new vehicles all under warranty available at its branches across the city – every one of which is Clean Air Zone compliant. Plus, with our Sameday Driveaway service, people can choose, test drive and buy, all in the space of a couple of hours. We would definitely recommend anyone thinking of taking advantage of the scheme to go online and start their car buying journey at motorpoint.co.uk or alternatively pop into their nearest Motorpoint branch.”
Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will go live on 1 June 2021 and charge owners of the most polluting vehicles to drive within the A4540 Middleway (but not the Middleway itself).