Birmingham city council has outlined its proposals for the implementation of a Clean Air Zone in the city, which include plans to charge some private car users.
Proposals for a ‘Class D’ charging zone, would apply to the ‘most polluting vehicles’, including buses, coaches, lorries, taxis and private hire vehicles, vans and private cars, the city council has said.
Details of the plan have been published ahead of a Cabinet meeting on 26 June, where councillors will be asked to approve preferred measures for the Clean Air Zone, which will then be subject to a full public consultation.
Birmingham city council is one of five authorities required by the government to take action to meet legal air quality limits in the shortest possible time with a requirement to introduce a Clean Air Zone by 2020. It is proposed that the Clean Air Zone should cover all roads within the A4540 Middleway ring road. CAZ proposals have also been outlined by Leeds and Southampton councils this week, although the authorities appear to favour exempting private cars from their proposals.
Under Birmingham’s proposals, charges are likely to be levied on pre Euro 6 diesel and pre-Euro 4 petrol light vehicles, while heavy goods vehicles will be required to meet the Euro VI standard to avoid charges.
Exact levels of charges have yet to be confirmed, but proposals contained within the documents published ahead of the meeting next week, suggest that charges could range between £6 and £12.5 for smaller vehicles, and £50 to £100 for larger vehicles.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “Clean air is a basic human right and yet poor air quality is responsible for hundreds of early deaths in Birmingham each year. This is completely unacceptable and we cannot allow it to continue, which is why we are now looking to consult on plans for a Clean Air Zone in the city.
“The biggest cause of air pollution is road transport, particularly diesel vehicles, so we need to take action to discourage the most polluting vehicles from entering the worst-hit parts of the city. If your vehicle meets nationally set engine emissions standards then you will not need to pay anything.
“This is not about making money, but saving lives – in fact, in an ideal world, no one would have to pay a Clean Air Zone charge because everyone would be driving a low or zero-emission vehicle or walking, cycling or using public transport instead.
“Of course, a Clean Air Zone is just one element of the wider work we are already doing to tackle air pollution in the long-term and this also includes making positive changes in the way we travel around our city.
“We all have a part to play in ensuring that our children, their children and future generations to come enjoy longer, healthier lives because they have access to the clean air we are currently denying ourselves.â€?
Birmingham city council – Clean Air Zone Report