FIVA (the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens or international federation of historic vehicles) is lobbying the European Parliament to recognise a threat to the region’s cultural heritage.
“While FIVA fully supports the move to a greener and more sustainable future, 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,” said FIVA President, Tiddo Bresters.
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 each country’s Europe’s motoring heritage.
However, FIVA says there is no consistency in LEZ rules across Europe. 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; hence FIVA’s urging of the European Commission to publish LEZ guidance for member states and urban authorities.
To illustrate the point, FiVA quoted UNESCO, saying “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 said it 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’.
The organisation 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.” FIVA says this makes clear that historic vehicles merit special attention in European and national environmental policies, because of their cultural value to society.
According to FIVA, when the EU published its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, outlining the need to develop sustainable transport policies across Europe, it stated that “this evolution should leave nobody behind”. Accordingly, all FIVA efforts are focused on not leaving the millions of historic vehicle enthusiasts behind.