Birmingham council launch Clean Air Zone website ahead of roll-out

A website has been launched to help businesses better understand Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which will come into force in January 2020.

Business Breathes contains information on the types of low-emission vehicles that comply with the CAZ requirements, as well as grants and incentives that will be available if businesses need to upgrade their vehicles to avoid the charges, as well as recharging and refuelling points.

It also includes features such as a postcode checker to see if a business or location is within the CAZ zone and a ‘ready reckoner’ to demonstrate how much money a low-emission option – such as an electric, gas or hydrogen vehicle – could save a business compared to a petrol or diesel model that does not comply with CAZ requirements.

The city council was one of five cities named within the government’s 2015 air quality plan as being required to draw up proposals to bring nitrogen dioxide levels into legal limits within the soonest timeframe possible.

The website has been launched as part of Brum Breathes, Birmingham City Council’s air quality campaign to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and particulate matter that cause poor air quality and associated health problems, aims to encourage businesses to move over to cleaner vehicles.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: ‘The Clean Air Zone will represent a significant change in terms of the way people travel around the city, so it is important that those who rely on the use of vehicles for their business are able to make the necessary preparations and access the relevant support ahead of its implementation in January 2020.’

‘The Business Breathes website provides a valuable one-stop shop for fleet managers and self-employed drivers to access the information they need to make the switch to greener, cleaner transport options, ensuring Birmingham stays open for business while also helping the city achieve cleaner air for those who live and work here.’

Birmingham City Council revealed in December that private cars, taxis and vans will pay £8 per day, while HGVs, coaches and buses will be charged £50 per day, to enter the city’s CAZ which will cover all roads within the A4540 Middleway ring road.

However, there will be one-year exemptions for commercial vehicles such as coaches, vans and lorries registered within the zone and one-year exemptions for coaches, vans and lorries registered in the Birmingham area and travelling into the zone which have an existing finance agreement beyond 2020. Both exemptions only apply for two vehicles per business.

There will be two-year exemptions for individuals with non-compliant vehicles who register within the zone and one-year exemptions for visitors to healthcare services such as Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Vans and minibuses providing community and school transport services will be able to apply for a permament exemption.