Bristol Clean Air Zone not confirmed, says council
No firm decisions have been made yet on a charging Clean Air Zone for Bristol, according to the city council, despite reports saying it’s been confirmed.
The scheme was due for launch in 2021. But as with other cities, the council said last summer that it was revisiting the plans to explore new ways to transform travel – in particular to avoid the challenges drivers and businesses are already facing as a result of the pandemic.
In a statement, a Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “We are still exploring whether or not a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is required and no firm decisions have been made yet. We’re currently analysing air quality and traffic data to assess whether we need to introduce a charging CAZ to make sure we comply with our legal obligations to improve air quality in the city.
“The council’s cabinet meets on 25 February to make a decision on the Clean Air Zone option which will ensure we comply with our legal duties for clean air. We will then submit our chosen option to Government who will confirm if they accept it in the spring. If we are required to introduce a CAZ the earliest it will be is October 2021.”
The council is looking at two options. A smaller ‘Class D’ scheme that would include private cars as well as commercial vehicles and would cover a central areas of Bristol. The second is for a larger ‘Class C’ scheme not including private cars.
The scheme will only apply charges to non-compliant vehicles; below Euro 6 for diesels or Euro 4 for petrol vehicles.
A number of councils have been reviewing their plans for charging Clean Air Zones due to the pandemic and both the resultant fall in traffic and concerns over the impact to businesses and drivers already hit by the crisis. Leeds City Council recently said its Class B scheme is no longer needed. But both Bath and Birmingham are pushing ahead with their charging Clean Air Zones, which are due in March and June 2021 respectively. The decision by Leeds to abandon its scheme has been slammed by ClientEarth. The environmental law charity has repeatedly urged for such zones to still go ahead.
For more details about the Bristol CAZ proposals, click here.