Emissions charge among Exeter air quality proposals

Exeter city council may consider introducing a charge for some vehicles to enter parts of the city, among a raft of proposals being explored to address air pollution in the city.

The council will shortly launch a draft version of its Air Quality Action Plan 2018-23 which will set out proposals to bring air pollution within legal limits around major roads in the city.

Traffic in Exeter – the council hopes the strategy will tackle nitrogen dioxide emissions from the city’s roads

According to the council, between 2011 and 2016, the period when its last air quality action plan was in place, nitrogen dioxide concentrations generally reduced or remained stable in the city.

And, while the council maintains that air quality in Exeter is ‘mainly good’, there are a small number of hotspots where levels of nitrogen dioxide are above government objectives, due to volumes of traffic.

In response to this, the council is seeking views on a range of proposals that would seek to address vehicle emissions.


This includes restricting which vehicles can enter certain parts of the city at certain times of the day, potentially with a charge for vehicles that do not meet the relevant criteria, with a particular focus on goods vehicles.

Other measures would include requiring developers to predict the health costs of vehicle emissions and match this cost with spending on mitigation and considering the use of traffic management or access restrictions which make park and ride, public transport or active travel more attractive than driving into the city centre.

Another proposed measure includes incentivising employers to adopt best practice and discourage use of private cars.

Commenting on the proposals, Councillor Rosie Denham, Exeter’s lead councillor for city transformation, energy and transport, said: “Congestion, and the resulting impact on air quality, is a result of a thriving city but if you don’t resolve the problem it severely impacts on our ability to grow and is detrimental to health and quality of life.

“That is why we are committed to becoming congestion-free by 2025, and why we want to consult on plans to improve air quality in the city. We want as many people as possible to engage with this consultation, and want residents to give us their own ideas on reducing congestion and pollution for everyone who lives, works and visits the city.”

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