Call for council to penalise SUV drivers in Southend city centre

Southend Council has been urged to discourage the use of SUVs in the city.

The use of Sports Utility Vehicles has been criticised with Paris announcing it intends to triple parking charges for large SUVs in order to push them out of the city and limit emissions,

At a full council meeting last week, Southend resident Simon Gittus asked the council to consider similar measures.

He said: “I am becoming concerned about the popularity of SUVs in our city. They are oversized, heavy and dangerous.

They produce more emissions than standard-sized cars, polluting our streets and causing health issues. According to recent reports, emissions could have fallen by 30 per cent from 2010 if the SUV trend hadn’t taken off.”

Mr Gittus added: “Paris is looking at ways to reduce movements of SUVs, such as increasing parking fees. Does the portfolio holder share my concerns about the increases in popularity of SUVs and would they be keen to look at ways to discourage their use?”

In response, Kevin Buck, councillor responsible for highways, transport and parking, said: “In the UK, the sale of any type of domestic motor vehicle, is neither controlled nor restricted by central or local government and it is up to the individual buyer to decide what they will purchase and drive.

“Central government already applies to the most expensive and/or heavier polluting vehicles, a number of escalating taxes, fees and charges and/or environmental levies, such as the Road Fund Licence, Fuel Duty, VAT, BIK (Benefit In Kind) etc.”

Cllr Buck added: “Many larger domestic vehicles such as estates, MPV’s, SUV’s, mini vans/buses etc, have the capability to carry more than the five passengers than that of a standard saloon vehicle, with some being able to carry up to eight or nine.

“When considering environmental impacts and emissions from passenger carrying vehicles, such as that used commercially in aviation, road and rail passenger transport, the metric used to determine the environmental emissions and impact, is the emissions per passenger.

A seven-seat large domestic passenger vehicle would have a lower environmental emissions impact ‘per passenger’, than a two-seater sports car.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter