Bristol to evaluate five Clean Air Zone options

Bristol city council will carry out further evaluation of the five potential options for the establishment of a Clean Air Zone in the city, after councillors were presented with the proposals on Tuesday (6 March).

The city council is one of 23 authority’s named within the government’s July 2017 Air Quality Plan to bring forward options to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in line with EU air quality targets within the soonest timeframe possible.

“There is no single solution to our air pollution problem in Bristol…” Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees

At Tuesday’s Cabinet Meeting, city councillors were presented with five options put forward in a strategic outline plan outlining the policies proposals being considered to bring the city into compliance with the EU limits.

This includes a series of options based around either a small or medium-sized ‘Class C’ or ‘Class D’ charging clean air zone in the centre of the city, which could levy a charge for the use of buses and coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles, heavy and lights goods vehicles, and potentially also private cars.

Options

The full proposals include:

  1. A Non-Charging Clean Air Zone with 17 complementary interventions
    2. A Charging Clean Air Zone (Medium size, Class C – all vehicles except cars) with 12 complementary interventions
    3. A Charging Clean Air Zone (Medium size, Class D – all vehicles) with 12 complementary interventions
    4. A Charging Clean Air Zone (Small size, Class C – all vehicles except cars) with 12 complementary interventions
    5. A Charging Clean Air Zone (Small size, Class D – all vehicles) with 12 complementary interventions.

Outlining the options at the meeting on Tuesday, Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste and Regulatory Services, with responsibility for air quality, told councillors that options being considered as part of the non-charging clean air zone could also include the prohibition of diesel cars from entering the area.

Further assessments of the five options will now be undertaken and are estimated to achieve compliance in 2023.  The next stage of analysis will consider this in much more detail, the council has said.

The Strategic Outline Case including these options will be submitted to government for their consideration, and residents and businesses will be given an opportunity to comment on the proposals at a later consultation phase – with a final consultation expected in October.

Direction

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “There is no single solution to our air pollution problem in Bristol so we must look at this issue from many different angles. My Mayoral Air Quality Working Group is currently developing integrated plans across transport and public health and we’re looking at the most effective ways to tackle harmful pollution levels.

“We haven’t waited for the government directive to start thinking about ways to make the city a healthier place to live and work. Now we need to agree the right approach for Bristol, which fits with national policy and is fair for everyone travelling around our city and particularly does not have a detrimental impact on low income households.”

Cllr Dudd, added: “Studies show that around 300 lives are lost each year due to poor air quality in the city, which comes mainly from road traffic, and in particular from diesel engines in cars, freight and buses. We’ve investigated the most effective ways of tackling harmful air pollution and are now in a position to share the best options from our technical studies.”