'Save our classic cars'

Boris Johnson is urged to protect Britain’s classic cars industry amid new eco regulations, with campaigners warning 100,000 jobs could be at risk

  • Angry campaigners say the classic car industry is at risk from green regulations
  • They say the industry is being targeted by complex rules on import and exports
  • The Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance is being launched today to help issue

Boris Johnson is today being urged to save Britain’s world-leading historical and classic car industry from green regulations and bureaucracy.

Campaigners are warning the Prime Minister, an ex-motoring columnist, that 100,000 jobs depend on the heritage sector, which has a turnover worth £18.3billion a year from international sales.

They say the industry is ‘in peril’ due to unfairly targeted environmental regulations and complex new rules for exporting and importing cars and parts to and from the EU.

The alliance says more than 100,000 jobs are in peril over the changes to imports and exports

Campaigners are today setting up the Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance trade group to fight for workers including engineers, specialist restorers, dealers and parts suppliers. They hope to keep alive a sector that prizes cars from everyday Fords to luxury Rolls-Royces.

The alliance, supported by Tory MP and former transport minister Nus Ghani, also aims to highlight how the UK’s three million classic cars are relatively green and sustainable because they are maintained through quality craftsmanship.

Launching today the alliance said: ‘More than 100,000 jobs are in peril as a combination of bureaucracy and poorly-focused environmental legislation threatens Britain’s world leading classic vehicle industry.

Tory MP and former transport minister Nus Ghani supports the newly formed alliance

‘With economic revival a top priority as the UK strives to recover from the Covid pandemic, highly-skilled engineers, restorers, craftsmen and parts suppliers face uncertainty over their livelihoods.’

It added: ‘Many businesses and owners find themselves trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare as they navigate red tape surrounding the movement of vehicles and parts for sales, restoration, competition preparation and events.’

The sector’s contribution to the UK economy is huge, it says.

The three million classic and historical cars on UK roads are valued at over £12billion, support 113,000 jobs, create an annual international trade turnover worth £18.3billion, and generate around £3billion tax revenue to the exchequer to help fund schools, hospitals, roads, transport and other public spending.

Significantly, the industry is spread ‘the length and breadth of the country’ with clusters of specialists operating in the West Midlands, Lancashire, Kent and Sussex – and only 5% of activity based in London, it points out: ‘The trade, in which British craft skills and engineering excellence lead the world, supports around 113,000 jobs in thousands of specialist small businesses and supply chain firms. It also provides training places and apprenticeship schemes, giving opportunities to young people’.

The Prime Minister has been urged to help protect the industry’s 100,000 jobs in the UK

The new alliance also aims to ‘bust the myths and popular misconceptions’ surrounding classic cars pointing out that the well-maintained vehicles are relatively green and sustainable because they prolong the life of great pieces of craftsmanship ‘rather than surrendering to built-in obsolescence.’

They are typically better maintained and driven sparingly – around 16 times a year covering an average 1,200 miles – and producing just a fifth (20%) of CO2 emissions from using a computer and a mobile phone for a year.

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