Cost effective enforcement of Clean Air Zones

Tim Daniels, sales & marketing director of Videalert Limited looks at some of the options available for enforcing clean air zones in towns and cities.

Councils wanting to reduce pollution from toxic gases such as nitrogen dioxide from traffic on our roads must also consider how compliance can be cost-effectively achieved for the Clean Air Zones (CAZ) and Low Emission Zones (LEZ) that they are currently planning.

There are some practical steps that can be taken by extracting greater value from their limited resources by utilising existing assets more effectively.

CCTV enforcement and traffic management systems are now routinely deployed by councils to capture civil traffic contraventions. Many of these are multi-tasking digital video platforms, such as that developed by Videalert, which support multiple civil traffic enforcement, traffic management, parking, crime prevention and improved community safety applications simultaneously using the same infrastructure. They enable available budgets to be leveraged, provide extended coverage at a lower cost and increase the value of the information captured.

Importantly, this new generation of enforcement platforms will play a leading role in reducing pollution in city centres and encourage the take-up of modern, cleaner vehicles.  Videalert’s hosted platform automates the management and enforcement of these zones with real-time identification of vehicles including make, model, colour, gross weight, engine type, Euro rating and CO² emission band.  This enables the system to determine whether an offence has been committed and/or whether the correct tariff has been paid for entry into the restricted zone.

Platforms such as this can also provide real-time intelligence to determine the extent of contraventions by ‘high’ pollutant vehicles in any target location to determine potential charging rates/bands prior to CAZs and LEZs being established.  This real-time intelligence enables councils to better formulate their Clean Air Plans in line with achieving the optimum impact for improving air quality within these zones.

Available on a hosted basis, this type of solution often requires no hardware or software to be installed on customer premises, making it much easier for councils to rapidly deploy.  It can be delivered as a fully managed service, including the planning, supply, installation, commissioning and ongoing maintenance of all necessary on-street equipment with the latest digital cameras and associated communications connectivity.


The challenge of encouraging behavioural change to clean up the air in our cities highlights the importance of using proven technologies in a more connected way.  This is the rationale behind a new partnership between Videalert and Imperial Civil Enforcement Solutions, one of the largest and most experienced providers of parking, environmental and traffic management services. The result has been an end-to-end solution that includes a virtual emission based permit system that can use differential pricing structures to reflect the specific characteristics of different vehicle types.  Being self-serve, it automatically calculates the specific vehicle pricing band during the online application process and provides a wealth of back office data and real-time information to ensure effective permit enforcement which is carried out using Videalert’s technology as detailed above.  Imperial also provides a tried and tested back office permit management system.

What is particularly significant is that this new approach is founded on well proven, approved and fully integrated technologies, so there are no risks or unknowns. This type of collaboration is made possible through the use of open architecture platforms enabling easy integration with third party applications.

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