Birmingham City Council has requested to postpone the launch of its upcoming Clean Air Zone (CAZ) until the end of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Outside of London, the Midlands has been the hardest hit from Covid-19 so far, and the council says its current focus is supporting employees through this difficult time.
The authority has asked the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit to delay the launch of the zone until at least the end of the calendar year, to be kept under constant review.
The CAZ was due to come into effect before the end of summer 2020.
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment said: ‘The current situation has meant we need to make changes to our original plans. Covid-19 is having a profound impact on the economy of the city and our preparations for the Clean Air Zone.
‘However, air pollution remains an on-going concern for this city. Once we have addressed coronavirus in the immediate term, poor air quality will continue to be a significant issue in the long term, and we should not be complacent.
‘We believe that a Clean Air Zone in Birmingham remains the most effective way of making a sustainable improvement to Birmingham’s air quality and we will continue to put in place the infrastructure required to support it.’
Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) will not begin in December 2020 as planned.
In a joint statement, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council said that businesses and residents across the city need to focus all of their attention on managing the current and potential impacts on their trade and way of life.
Transport for London (TfL) has also suspended London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) until further notice, to support key workers on their journeys to work.