Having been one of 23 local authorities ordered by the Government to bring forward plans to reduce illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, Bristol City Council has launched a public consultation on two options to reduce air pollution in the city.

This comes some months after other cities on the list, including Leeds and Birmingham, have formalised their plans and follows a warning in March 2019 from Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey that the City Council faced legal action unless a plan was quickly delivered.

Details of the consultation on a proposed Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which is open for comments until 12 August 2019, can be found at bristol.citizenspace.com.

CAZ 1

This would see a zone in which non-compliant (older, more polluting) buses, coaches, taxis, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs, those over 3500kg) and light goods vehicles (those not exceeding 3500kg) would be charged a fixed sum for each day they are driven in the zone.

The charges would only apply once daily and would be £9 per day for non-compliant taxis and light goods vehicles and £100 per day for non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches.

Option 1 would also include some new HGV weight restrictions; bus lanes on the M32 and Cumberland Road; and using existing traffic signals to control the amount of traffic entering congested areas with poor air quality.

CAZ 2

This would involve banning all diesel cars from driving in a specific central area from 7am to 3pm, seven days a week (this would not apply to taxis/private hire or emergency services). Other measures, including a scrappage scheme, could also be included.

Complaining that neither option offers much in the way of detail, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned that the proposals would hurt local businesses and the economy.

Chris Yarsley, FTA’s Policy Manager for the South West of England, said: “FTA is most disappointed that Bristol City Council has not provided a justification as to why it is proposing a Class C band — which excludes private cars — over a Class D band, which encompasses all polluting vehicles.”

He also pointed out that the possible scrappage scheme would only be made available to private road users; operators of commercial vehicles would receive no financial help.

Last reviewed 5 July 2019