In Brief

Drivers to be paid £3,000 a year to ditch their cars

Trials will begin in Coventry later this year to encourage motorists to use bikes or buses

Under new plans to cut air pollution, drivers who give up their cars for the joys of a greener lifestyle could be paid up to £3,000 a year to spend on public transport. 

The Government-backed scheme, which is due to be trialled later this year, will provide motorists with grants they can spend on greener forms of transport, such as buses, trains, electric cars and bike sharing schemes, The Sunday Times reports.

Cash credits will be loaded onto special travel cards and a dedicated smartphone app. The money could then be spent on more environmentally-friendly alternatives, the newspaper says. 

If the scheme gets the go-ahead, drivers would be expected to surrender their cars for a short time while they were evaluated before getting rid of their car altogether. This would help assess the amount of money needed to trigger a long-term change in travel habits, the paper adds.

Trials are set to take place in Coventry and involve around 100 drivers. The test will then be rolled out across the 12 councils that make up the West Midlands Combined Authority, says Auto Express.

The scheme is part of the Government’s £20m “future mobility” grant, the magazine says. It will first be funded by the taxpayer, before a long-term cashflow is secured from private firms such as electric car companies and train operators. 

John Seddon, head of transport and innovation at Coventry City Council, told The Times that he views the scheme as “a variant of scrappage schemes of the past.” But rather than trading in your old car for a newer one, he said it was about trading in your car for the ability to use other modes of transport in a subsidised way.

The project is part of a wider plan to crack down on harmful emissions across the UK.

Plans to improve air quality in the capital will be underway in a matter of weeks. London mayor Sadiq Khan will be introducing the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a £12.50 fee on top of the £11.50 congestion charge for older vehicles, in the city centre from 8 April, the Daily Mail reports.

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