Green Party in England and Wales
Energy Minister's call for higher rates of tax for urban 4x4s doesn't go far
Greens warn stricter measures needed to combat pollution and safety hazards
posed by "gas guzzlers"
The Greens welcome Energy Minister, Malcolm Wick's call for higher rates of
tax for urban 4x4s. These vehicles are some of the worst "gas guzzlers," on
the road and contribute to the UK's growing carbon emissions as well as
posing a serious safety risk to other road users.
Sian Berry, Green Party Campaigns Co-ordinator, comments: "Urban 4x4s have
plagued our cities for too long and bring serious social and environmental
costs. While many other cars are polluting, the unique problem with 4x4s is
that this is combined with serious safety issues. Their extra height and
weight is needed for off-roading but is totally unnecessary in town. Their
higher bumpers and mismatched crumple zones lead to extra dangers to
pedestrians, cyclists, people in smaller cars, and even the occupants of the
big 4x4s themselves.
"In terms of pollution, because 4x4s are heavier and need bigger engines to
achieve the same performance as a lighter car, all models of 4x4 give out
more pollution per mile than the equivalent ordinary car. The biggest models
emit more carbon dioxide than two estate cars."
"The current difference between the lowest and highest rates of vehicle
excise duty is just £115. While the Government is considering a new top rate
of vehicle excise duty for cars that produce more than 250g of CO2 per
kilometre, the proposed rate is just £200 - only £35 higher than the current
top band. This clearly doesn't go far enough as 4x4s are chosen as prestige
vehicles and consumers are likely to cope with this small tax difference.
The Department for Transport's own market research shows that the difference
between each band should be at least £150 to influence people's choice of
The Green Party believes a radical shake up of the tax system is needed to
combat the pollution of our cities. This would include not only higher taxes
for the most polluting cars, but also increased fuel tax to discourage car
use and provide investment for more sustainable, environmentally friendly
forms of transport including cycle lanes and comfortable, reliable buses and
trains. We need government to take a lead on transport issues and
half-hearted measures will achieve little in the long-term.