Classic cars are under threat from towns and cities imposing varying “clean air” zones.
FIVA, the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens or international federation of historic vehicles, is lobbying the European Parliament to recognise the threat to our cultural heritage.
“While FIVA fully supports the move to a greener and more sustainable future,” states FIVA president Tiddo Bresters, “forthcoming changes to mobility regulations across Europe could unintentionally threaten the use of historic vehicles on public roads. FIVA works hard to protect this ‘mobile museum’ for future generations to enjoy.”
The European Commission published a Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy at the end of last year, and more recently a ‘Roadmap’ for a new Europe-wide urban mobility framework, which anticipates at least 100 climate-neutral cities in Europe by 2030.
In many countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Romania and Sweden, historic vehicles are exempt from low emission zone (LEZ) regulations because such vehicles are typically well maintained, rarely used, and part of our motoring heritage.
However, there is no consistency in LEZ rules across Europe – indeed, in some countries, vehicle access and pricing conditions vary even between towns and cities. As the number of LEZs (and ZEZs – zero emission zones) grows rapidly, this patchwork of local rules is causing increased consumer confusion.
So, FIVA urges the European Commission to publish LEZ guidance for member states and urban authorities – guidance that recognises the unique role of historic vehicles in our cultural heritage.
To quote UNESCO: “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.”
FIVA fully acknowledges the need to reduce urban emissions, but a distinction should be made between an old and potentially poorly maintained means of transport and a vehicle that is ‘historic’.
FIVA defines a historic vehicle as “a mechanically propelled road vehicle at least 30 years old; preserved and maintained in a historically correct condition; not used as a means of daily transport; and therefore part of our technical and cultural heritage.”
This makes clear that historic vehicles merit special attention in European and national environmental policies, because of their cultural value to society.