Transport Museum Wythall calling for Clean Air Zone exemption to keep the region's heritage bus service alive - The Solihull Observer

Transport Museum Wythall calling for Clean Air Zone exemption to keep the region's heritage bus service alive

Solihull Editorial 3rd Sep, 2019   0

A LIVING motor museum is calling for an exemption from Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which is set to come into force next summer.

Transport Museum Wythall (TMW) takes passengers on heritage rides to the city centre on its bus fleet 11 times a year to mark event days at the Chapel Lane site.

However the 750 from the museum to the city centre could be axed as they would face paying £50 a day as the 60-year-old buses cannot meet the new emissions limits without destroying their originality.

Birmingham City Council is set to introduce a CAZ covering all roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road from July 1.

The council has agreed an exemption applying to historic vehicles (aged over 40 years) but this will not apply to Wythall’s vehicles as the museum is deemed to run its vehicles commercially, for profit.

The volunteer-run Charity Incorporated Organisation (CIO) says all income is ploughed back into restoring and maintaining its heritage vehicle fleet and running the transport museum.

It claims Birmingham City Council refuses to recognise this fact and also appears not to appreciate the work of the heritage sector, the value it brings to the city and its positive affect on tourism.

A petition has seen almost 950 people call for TWM to be given an exemption to keep the region’s heritage bus service alive.

Denis Chick, TMW press officer, said: “As a 100 per cent volunteer operation, we work very hard to preserve the heritage of public transport in the West Midlands.

“Last year the museum attracted over 10,000 visitors with over 1,000 of these from educational visits.

“Paying a £50 charge for each vehicle on 11 days of the year would take up to £1,100 out of our income.

“Every penny raised is re-invested into the museum and its collection to ensure its sustainability so we are asking for public support through our petition as, without an exemption, the 750 service will have to be withdrawn.”

In a statement to The Observer Birmingham City Council said: “The Government paper ‘Clean Air Zone Framework, Principles for setting up Clean Air Zones in England, May 2017’ jointly published by Defra and the Department for Transport states that vehicles with a ‘historic’ vehicle tax class should be exempt from Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charges.

“To be eligible for tax exemption and therefore also CAZ exemption, a vehicle must be over 40 years old and must NOT be used for hire or reward (for example, it’s used as a taxi for paying customers) or used commercially for a trade or business.

“The CAZ charging order that was approved by the Cabinet in June reflects this advice and under the 1994 Act stated in our previous correspondence ‘commercial use’ is defined within the Act as “use for hire or reward or for or in connection with a trade or business’ which is the same as the eligibility for a historic tax exemption set out above.”

For more or to sign the petition visit

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