Nottingham opts against Clean Air Zone

Nottingham city council has revealed its intention not to establish a Clean Air Zone within the city, as it has claimed that existing measures will bring it into compliance with legal limits within the next two years.

The city was one of five ordered by government to set up a Clean Air Zone to meet legal limits for the emission of nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant that is largely produced by road traffic sources.

However, Nottingham city council has today claimed that a Clean Air Zone is now no longer necessary as modelling has shown that its existing measures, which include bus retrofits and new requirements for taxis to meet low emission standards will meet targets in a shorter timeframe.

At a council meeting yesterday (9 July) Cllr Sally Longford, Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said these existing measures would reduce air pollution to below the legal limit, without the need for a Clean Air Zone.

Cllr Longford said: “Results of air quality modelling showed these measures will have a significant effect in reducing emissions, bringing Nottingham into compliance by 2020. Although we considered a Class B Clean Air Zone – which would have affected HGVs, buses and taxis – the actions we’re taking will have a positive impact across the whole city, rather than just in one area.

“Our priority has always been the health of our citizens, rather than meeting government targets, and this hasn’t changed. Road vehicles are one of the largest contributors to air pollution, and it’s thanks to the council’s significant and sustained investment in green public transport, like the trams and low emission buses, that we are in a really strong position to be able to improve air quality.”

Retrofit

The council’s Executive Board will consider a series of proposals later this month that include continuing the retrofit of buses with cleaner exhaust technology, encouraging greater take-up of low emission taxis and introducing more low emission vehicles in the council’s own fleet, including waste collection vehicles.

The board will also be asked to approve, in principle, further measures, including amending the city’s two Air Quality Management Areas to cover the whole city, and seeking to enforce anti-idling legislation.

If agreed, a public consultation will take place in August, before the city’s final local air quality plan is submitted to the government.

A motion was also passed at yesterday’s meeting calling upon government to adopt a series of measures to support improvements in air pollution, including a targeted vehicle scrappage scheme, greater funding for local authorities, and electrification of the Midland Mainline in order to reduce the number of polluting diesel trains entering the City of Nottingham.

Of the other four cities required by government to set up Clean Air Zones, Leeds, Southampton and Birmingham have all outlined proposals. Derby city council has yet to publicly bring forward any plans, and the council has stated its preference to move forward with a scrappage scheme as an alternative option.