Following a news story that we published last week, Bristol City Council have now approved plans to ban privately-owned diesel cars from entering a specified zone in the city centre. The first ban of its kind, the aim is to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels as quickly possible.
The Clean Air Zone will be in effect from 7am-3pm every day and is designed to prevent anyone driving a privately-owned diesel car from entering through the use of ANPR. After approving the new Clean Air Zone, it was also revealed that the ban will be implemented by 2021.
Initial reports from Bristol City Council state that the diesel ban will cover part of the M32, the old city, Redcliffe, Spike Island, the Harbourside and part of Hotwells. Should any privately-owned diesel vehicle stray into any of those areas – with the exception of taxis and emergency services – they will incur a fine.
Alongside the Clean Air Zone that completely bans privately-owned diesel vehicles, a wider charging zone for high-emission commercial vehicles will be in none-stop operation. This zone, which covers a vast area around the city centre will require taxis and vans to pay a daily charge of £9 whilst buses and HGVs must pay £100.
The new Clean Air Zone comes two years after Bristol City Council were ordered by the Government to reduce their NO2 levels to within legal limits. When asked about the initial proposal, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees noted that a total ban on privately-owned diesel vehicles was the quickest way to achieve the required reduction.
Whilst many locals have welcomed the idea, many have expressed their concerns about the ban simply moving the area of pollution and the knock-on effects that the blocked off area may have on congestion. These concerns have been echoed by some experts, with Nicholas Lyes, Head of Policy at the RAC, adding:
"Major routes into, out of, and even around the city – like Temple Way and Brunel Way – would become out of bounds, with diesel vehicles forced onto other roads, which risks causing congestion problems where they don’t exist at the moment."
Ahead of its official launch in 2021, Bristol City Council have said that they will need to invest around £113.5 million into the infrastructure surrounding the plan, so hopefully any concerns will be addressed. The final business case will be submitted to the government in February of next year.
With the full diesel ban moving one step closer to reality, we’d like to know what you think of the new Clean Air Zone – do you think it’s a good idea? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.