Derby city council has met with the government’s air quality minister Therese Coffey, to seek support for a targeted scrappage scheme to remove polluting vehicles from the city’s streets.
The measure would be introduced instead of a charging clean air zone in the city, which would require motorists to pay a charge to operate more polluting vehicles in certain parts of the city where air quality is seen to be a problem, the council has claimed.
The authority was one of five mandated within 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.
The city council has yet to outline how it will seek to meet the requirements of the governments order, and had been due to publish plans early this year detailing its proposals. However, representatives of the council met with the minister on Wednesday (28 February) to seek support for a scrappage scheme.
According to the council the scheme would be designed to offer incentives to ‘rapidly remove the worst polluting vehicles from the city’, and would avoid all of the “negative social and economic impacts on businesses and residents that are inherent in road charging schemes”.
In addition the council proposed an ‘ambitious package of measures aimed at changing travel behaviour and increasing active and sustainable travel’.
Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection said: “Derby city council do not believe that a charging scheme would actually achieve compliance, as many vehicle owners may have no alternative, or will simply elect to pay a charge rather than change their vehicle or travel behaviour. The council has no intention of implementing measures that simply introduce additional costs for residents and businesses, whilst not achieving the necessary air quality improvements.
“We firmly believe that a targeted scrappage scheme for Derby is right for the whole community. We have put a lot of time and effort into this, and we firmly believe that this is the right solution to reduce emissions, and in turn will deliver the most health, environmental, economic benefits in the quickest possible time.”
On Wednesday, the minister also met representatives of 33 councils who will be required to carry out additional scoping work to assess whether they can comply with air quality limits sooner than currently anticipated.
Following a High Court ruling last week the government was forced to mandate more councils to act to reduce air pollution, after previously having assumed that these authorities would fall into compliance with EU air pollution limits by the end of the decade (see airqualitynews.com story).