Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone could be a ‘catalyst for behavioural change’ says law firm BDB Pitmans.
Next week, Birmingham City Council will implement the first Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the UK to include private vehicles. This follows the city of Bath’s CAZ which came into effect on March 16.
BDB Pitmans, the law firm advising on the Bath and Birmingham CAZs, as well as four other major cities, has suggested that this could lead to a sea change in attitudes as more cities adopt similar schemes.
Rahul Bijlani, a legal director at BDB Pitmans, said: ‘Birmingham’s CAZ is a landmark in that it is the first scheme outside London to include private cars. It is significant not just for the undoubted air quality benefits it will bring to the people of Birmingham, but for the message it sends nationally.
‘In the future local authorities are likely to face stricter duties to take action to achieve air quality standards locally.
‘Success in Birmingham could act as a beacon to other authorities, demonstrating that a CAZ is a viable way to improve air quality at the local level and paving the way for more schemes of this kind.
‘Birmingham and Bath are both nationally-mandated zones aimed specifically at reducing NO2 to legal limits, but we are already seeing other authorities considering ambitious schemes of their own.
‘Oxfordshire, for example, is proposing the UK’s first Zero Emission Zone- focussing on electric vehicles- and schemes of this kind could play a valuable role in reducing CO2 and contributing towards the UK journey towards its net-zero target.
‘We may find ourselves looking back on the Birmingham CAZ as a pivotal moment that helped transform attitudes towards emissions-based road user charging and act as a catalyst for behavioural change across the country.’
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