Get paid to scrap your car

The dangerously high levels of particulate pollution blanketing European cities is forcing authorities to take increasingly severe measures to reduce car use, now even paying people to send the family sedan to the scrap heap.

In a trial to be launched this year the city of Coventry in the UK, people will be paid up to A$6000 a year in benefits if the car makes one final trip to the crusher.

Funded by the national government, the aim of the A$2M scheme is to "stimulate a long-term sustainable shift in travel behaviour" among drivers.

It is funded for four years.

In exchange for handing over their vehicles, motorists will be funded to opt for bike-sharing, public transport, and electric vehicle car hire schemes in a bid to cut pollution and congestion.

Coventry has been chosen as the first city to trial the project. The Midlands industrial city was once the second biggest car manufacturing centre after Detroit, home to 12 car companies.

The scheme works by adding credits to a smart card which can be used on transport other than their private vehicle.

John Seddon, head of transport and innovation at Coventry City Council, said around 100 people would initially take part in the trial, which will be funded by a £20 million Department for Transport award from the Future Mobility Fund.

"We see it as a variant of scrappage schemes of the past but rather than trading in an old car for a newer one, it is trading in the car for the ability to use other modes of transport."

Further research will take place before decisions on other aspects of the programme are introduced including the travel credit scheme set to be piloted in Coventry.

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “We want to make it quick, easy and cheap for everyone to travel around the region by creating a range of reliable alternatives to private car ownership.

“People could leave their cars at home, or get rid of them altogether, and instead opt to take the Metro, train or bus to work, hire an electric vehicle to do their shopping, and share a taxi on a night out.

“This is a bold, ambitious vision for the future, and we’re confident we can prove the concept in the West Midlands and show the rest of the UK the way forward for the future.”

Coventry has notoriously poor air quality: 98% of monitored roads in Coventry have PM2.5 emissions above the World Health Organization’s guidelines.

In 2015 only 3% of people commuted to work or school by bike in the city compared to 64% by car.

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