Councillors to decide whether to impose emissions restrictions on buses operating in centre of Brighton & Hove
Councillors are to decide next week whether to introduce a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in the central Brighton & Hove bus corridor in a bid to improve air quality.
The proposed zone covers four of the main roads close to the centre of Brighton, and buses that enter will be required to meet minimum emission standards.
The city council plans to put the proposals into place by January 2015, subject to gaining formal approval at a council meeting next week (January 14).
Councillor Pete West, chair of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: Air pollution is well above both national and EU levels in some parts of the city and some areas have shown little sign of improvement in 10 years. This is mainly because of nitrogen dioxide emissions from road transport.
Its just not acceptable, and that is why we have been having fruitful discussions with bus companies who have been working with us to achieve better air quality. Through our bus partnership we have been able to collaborate with operators who are already investing in new technology to reduce emissions.
Introducing a low emission zone would be a cost effective way of improving air quality citywide as the buses entering the zone would also be travelling to other parts of the city. It is the logical next step in developing the work already underway by bus operators in Brighton & Hove.
Under the plans the council would monitor the emission standard of buses in the zone to make sure they comply, liaising with bus operators to resolve any difficulties. It would also monitor other types of vehicle using the low emission zone to assess their impact.
The council has said that delivery vehicles to smaller businesses and minibuses would not be affected as they visit the area less frequently and therefore have less impact on air quality.
In October the council and the citys largest bus operator Brighton & Hove Buses won government funding of 700k to retrofit vehicles to reduce the amount of air pollution they produce. The funding will be used to upgrade the engines of 50 buses to reduce emissions.
The UKs third LEZ came into effect in Oxford city centre this month (see airqualitynews.com) with others already established in Norwich and London.