Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs

Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs

Category: Motoring Group

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) aims to “uphold the freedom to use historic vehicles on the road” by representing owners of these vehicles to “politicians, government officials, and legislators”, according to its website.

While the FBHVC has said it does not oppose clean air schemes that either charge more polluting vehicles for entering city centres or ban them altogether, it has called for exemptions to be made for historic vehicles.

The FBHVC comprises “540 subscriber organisations representing a total membership of over 250,000 in addition to individual and trade supporters”. The organisation encourages the “preservation and promotion of all types of vehicle within the broader context of our national heritage”.

It describes the “legislation” aspect of its organisational strategy as the “most fundamental element of what we do and embraces how we engage those who draft legislation, debate what is appropriate and finally agree and implement this legislation”.

Elsewhere, it says it works to protect the right of historic vehicle owners to use their vehicles on the road “without unreasonable restriction”, “without modification” and “without the need to conform to the performance, roadworthiness and environmental standards which are applied to the generality of modern vehicles”.

The FBHVC belongs to FIVA, an international body which it describes as the “principal mechanism by which we engage EU legislators”. The FBHVC publishes a bi-monthly newsletter.

All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group

The FBHVC runs the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicle Group, which it says enjoys the support of politicians from “all of the major political parties”.

The group is chaired by Conservative MP and former Minister of State for Industry Sir Greg Knight, a long-time classic car enthusiast who successfully campaigned for the vehicles to be exempt from statutory MOT testing in 2011, calling it an “unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle”. Knight has also said he does not expect government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 to be met.

The group’s Vice Chair is Labour MP Mark Tami, its Treasurer is Labour MP John Cryer, and its Secretary is Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope, one of only five MPs who voted against the UK’s Climate Change Act in 2008.

The RAC paid for a dinner held by the group in 2018, according to parliamentary records.


The FBHVC’s directors are volunteers, according to its website, but the group raises funds to support its work through member subscriptions. The organisation also has a number of commercial partners.

Air Pollution Lobbying

In an overview of its history, the FBHVC notes that environmental considerations “now occupy centre stage: some might say the whole stage” and said “proposed measures to protect the environment are particularly difficult to counter without losing credibility”. It explained it therefore needed to find a middle ground on issues rather than oppose measures outright.

It also said it wasn’t “sustainable” for people to keep doing whatever they liked regardless of environmental impacts and that “most governments are trying to move public attitudes towards reducing blatant consumerism”.

However, the FBHVC has made strong calls for historic vehicles to be exempt from emissions charging schemes.

In a 2019 issue of its in-house magazine, the FBHVC said it had been making efforts to secure a “general exemption for Historic Vehicles into the primary legislation” for Clean Air Zones (CAZ) but that this had not been successful.

In the previous issue, the FBHVC said it could no longer rely on the public being generally supportive of the “historic vehicle movement” as a result of growing concern about climate change and air pollution.

The group said it needed to “recognise this change, respect the reasons for it” and “justify our activities with politeness and care”.

It noted it had responded to consultations on a number of proposed CAZs, including in Leeds and Birmingham, and Low Emission Zones (LEZ), such as in Edinburgh, where the FBHVC has been calling for exemptions for historic vehicles, particularly buses.

In a 2018 issue, the FBHVC said it was emphasising the “insignificant actual effect on the environment of historic vehicles” in responses to proposed clean air schemes.

It also said it had called on the Scottish government to consider exempting historic vehicles from its proposed LEZs, as well as the possibility of permits for specific purposes.

Key Arguments in Order of Prominence

  1.      Historic vehicles should be exempt from clean air schemes.
  2.      Historic vehicles represent a very small proportion of overall pollution.
  3.      “Heritage” buses should be given time-limited exemptions.
  4.      Historic vehicles are cultural artefacts which people should not be encouraged to scrap.
  5.      The contribution of historic vehicles to emissions has been “overstated”.

Areas Active

Bath: in response to a consultation on the city’s proposed CAZ, the FBHVC said it welcomed the exemption of historic vehicles but called for exemptions to be made available for “heritage” buses under 30 years old used for cultural purposes.

Birmingham: in a 2019 issue of its in-house magazine, the FBHVC said the council had not yet agreed to exempt heritage buses from the proposed CAZ and officers had shown a marked “lack of sympathy”.

Bradford: in response to a consultation on the city’s proposed CAZ, the FBHVC said it was “not opposed” but argued that exemptions for historic buses should be considered because they are only used rarely and “do not contribute significantly to pollution levels”.

Edinburgh: in response to a consultation on the city’s proposed LEZ, it said it did not question the “need and the justification for a LEZ” but that its impact on owners of, and businesses involved in, historic vehicles could be “significant”. It called for exemptions for vehicles over 30 years old and said “heritage” buses used for cultural purposes less than 30 years old should also be offered exemptions of some kind.

Glasgow: in response to a consultation on the city’s proposed LEZ, the organisation said it was “not opposed” but wanted to see exemptions for vehicles over 30 years old, citing data from a survey it conducted in 2016 suggesting historic vehicles only cover an estimated 0.21 percent of total vehicle mileage. It also said “near-historic” buses, aged between 20 and 30 years, should be given short-term exemptions for “limited use”.

Leeds: in a 2019 issue of its in-house magazine, the FBHVC said the council had accepted its arguments that buses used for heritage purposes “could not contribute significantly to overall pollution” and had created a “suitable exemption” in its proposed CAZ.

London: in response to a consultation on the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), it supported the exemption of historic vehicles and “raised concerns that the pollution from these vehicles was overstated”, according to a summary of responses.

Oxford: In a 2019 issue of its in-house magazine, the FBHVC said it had recommended permits for historic vehicles for cultural events in its response to a consultation on the city’s proposed Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ).

Sheffield: in a 2019 issue of its in-house magazine, the FBHVC said it had called for the same approach to exemptions as Leeds in its consultation response to the city’s proposed CAZ. In its response, it argued the exemption of historic vehicles should “in principle” be encouraged because there was “no public interest in encouraging the scrapping of cultural artefacts” and their contribution to pollution was small.

Scotland: responding to a consultation on the country’s LEZ proposals in April 2020, the FBHVC called for vehicles over 30 years old, including buses, to be exempted from the schemes “on a time-limited basis”. It said emissions from historic vehicles were “extremely low”.

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