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Budget Contradicts Government Policy By Rewarding Car Driving And Ignoring Motorcycling's Contribution To The Environment - March 23rd 2006

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    The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) has today criticised the Chancellor's Budget changes to Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) - the road tax -- for ignoring the environmental credentials of motorcycle use.

    The Budget alters charges in many car VED bands and creates a zero rate of VED for Band A, which covers the lowest polluting cars. Meanwhile, most motorcycle VED rates will rise with the rate of inflation. Powered Two-Wheelers under 150cc will remain frozen at 15.

    Many small motorcycles have emission outputs which compare favourably with the lowest polluting cars in band A. This, coupled with the congestion-busting benefits of motorcycle use and their contribution to environmental urban mobility for individuals in today's urban areas, means that the rate of VED for motorcycles and scooters lower than 150cc should also have been included in the zero VED band.

    By not including small motorcycles in the zero rate VED band, a clear difference between the Government's stated intent and how it actually acts has been revealed. The Government's Motorcycling Strategy of 2005 recognises that with regard to the environment; "Motorcycles also compare favourably to other classes of vehicles". The Ministerial foreword adds; "Motorcycles can be a modern, practical way of getting around and we all need to recognise it as such."

    MCI's Craig Carey-Clinch said; "By rewarding car driving and penalising environmentally friendly motorcycle use, the Chancellor has in effect revealed a farcical contradiction between the Government's stated policy towards motorcycling, as laid out in the Government's own motorcycle strategy and how it really means to act.

    "The Budget changes to VED aim to help the environment, but by ignoring the very clear environmental contribution of motorcycling and in effect rewarding the use of a mode of transport which causes traffic congestion, the proposals merely become a charter for more car use and increased pollution from cars in all the VED bands.

    "It is time that the Government took its own motorcycle strategy more seriously and creates a zero rate of VED for bikes lower than 150cc."