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Transport (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th October 2019.

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Photo of Murdo Fraser Murdo Fraser Conservative

Amendment 44 mirrors amendments that I lodged at stage 2 but did not push to a vote, and with which I sought to exempt historic vehicles from the rules on LEZs. I support LEZs. I declare an interest as the owner of an historic vehicle. I know that I am not alone in that in Parliament. As is the case for many historic vehicle owners, mine does no more than a few hundred miles a year, so it can hardly be classed as a major polluter of the atmosphere.

There are more than 250,000 historic vehicle owners and enthusiasts across the United Kingdom. The vehicles include not just cars but motorcycles, buses, coaches, lorries, vans, military vehicles, tractors and steam engines

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The issue is that without an exemption from LEZs, individuals who live within a designated LEZ would not be able to own or operate an historic vehicle, which would be an unreasonable restriction. Moreover, historic vehicles would not be able to drive through LEZs, which would mean that historic vehicle exhibitions, rallies and events could no longer be held in venues in those areas.

Also, people who are getting married and who want to have a historic car—[

Interruption

.]—or a steam train, as the justice secretary said from a sedentary position—pick them up from their church or their wedding venue would not be able to do that if they were being married within an LEZ. I am sure that that is a tragedy that members would want to avoid at all costs.

There is a strong case to be made for exempting historic vehicles. I do not believe that they are major contributors to pollution; in fact, in total, historic vehicles represent just 0.2 per cent of total traffic on UK roads and, as the cabinet secretary said, they have already been exempted from the LEZs south of the border.

I lodged amendment 44 essentially as a probing amendment. I am very encouraged by the cabinet secretary’s comment that he is “strongly minded” to grant the exemptions in regulations after further discussions with stakeholders. On that basis, I intend not to move amendment 44.