Sefton Council in Merseyside will explore introducing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to help improve air quality, after losing a fight with Highways England who will build a Â£250m dual carriageway through the region.
South Sefton has four Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs), with three going back to 2009, and there also is a concern from residents that the ongoing expansion of the Port of Liverpool will mean increased traffic and air pollution across the region.
The council commissioned air quality consultants AECOM for a study into measures to reduce road traffic emissions, which concluded that a charging CAZ for all vehicles would be the most effective way to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions from road traffic.
However, the council says they still prefer a class B CAZ which would not charge private cars.
Highways England has planning permission to build the dual carriageway through a country park in Liverpool to improve access to the port. In September, the Liverpool Echo reported from the High Court who refused an appeal from campaigners to stop the plans. Sefton Council was backing the campaigners and called the ruling ‘a blow’.
Cllr Ian Maher, leader at Sefton Council, said: ‘For some people who live in Sefton, air pollution is an important concern and the quality of the air we breathe is an issue that affects everyone. For this reason, last year I instructed a team of officers to explore all available options to address air pollution in Sefton.
‘This work followed on from a number of significant actions that were already in place to improve air quality in the borough. However, we need to do everything we can to protect the health and wellbeing of all our residents.
‘AECOMâ€™s report concludes that the only viable option left to make a significant difference to air quality in the areas most affected by traffic pollution is to implement a charging CAZ to cut pollution and encourage people to drive less polluting vehicles, including electric and low emission vehicles.
‘There will be an opportunity for residents and businesses to share their views on these plans further down the line and we will work closely with our key partners and stakeholders throughout the process to ensure that our plans continue to work towards the best interests of our communities.
For more information on Seftonâ€™s CAZ, or to read the AECOM Report, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/CAZ
The plans will be discussed at Sefton’s Cabinet on November 7.
Photo Credit – Sefton Council