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Derby rejects charging clean air zone scheme

Derby City Council is to push ahead with plans to deploy traffic management measures rather than a charging clean air zone as it looks to deal with air quality issues.

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Derby is looking at a non charging clean air zone

The city was one of five – also including Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Southampton – that were identified under the Government’s 2015 air quality plan as being required to establish a clean air zone by 2020 to help bring the UK into compliance with the Air Quality Directive target on nitrogen dioxide emissions. All five were required to submit a local plan to Defra in September.

Although the council had been exploring three options, two of which would have involved charging of non-compliant cars, vans and trucks, it’s chosen to push ahead with the non-charging CAZ option, which will focus on easing congestion via a range of traffic management measures.

A further consultation is proposed to set out more detail of the traffic management plan for Stafford Street.

Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “We have made it our priority to reduce pollution levels and improve air quality in the city, and officers worked very hard to prepare options for consultation to ensure we are working towards a legally compliant package of measures.

“The Council indicated in the consultation that Option 1 was the preferred option, and it is encouraging that we have received substantial support on this option from the public.  This is the option that is deliverable in the quickest possible time and directly addresses air quality in Stafford Street.  We all have a part to play in achieving cleaner air for Derby and I encourage residents, local businesses and stakeholders to take part in the next period of consultation to help inform the best local solution for our city.”

Details of the upcoming consultation will be announced in the next few weeks.

The decision follows considerable consultation between the Council and fleet industry representatives. Earlier this year the BVRLA joined with the Council and the Energy Savings Trust in hosting a round table to discuss proposals for improving air quality within Derby’s pollution hotspots. At this meeting the BVRLA and its members outlined a range of alternatives to a charging CAZ and ways of reducing the impact of a zone if introduced.

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the BVRLA, said: “Derby City Council’s decision to concentrate on easing traffic flow rather than resorting to the blanket charging of road users is excellent news. The plan agreed yesterday will be a relief to local motorists and businesses who would undoubtedly be badly hit by the imposition of a charging zone.

“I’m delighted Derby City Council has listened to the views the BVRLA put forward earlier this year and look forward to continuing to work with them to deliver a pragmatic, fleet-friendly solution to tackle air pollution.”

The news comes after Leeds City Council announced earlier this month that it would be implementing a charging CAZ from 2020. Keaney explained: “Derby City Council has shown it is possible to apply a different approach to tackle congestion and the other sources of pollution. While Clean Air Zones may be necessary in some cities, they are not a silver bullet for every scenario.

“Derby has done its research, consulted with the fleet sector and listened to local businesses and residents. We hope other councils will do this same.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.