Car tax changes: Councillors warn of parking chaos in Bristol when Clean Air Zone begin

Martin Lewis gives money-saving advice on VED car tax

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Councillors fear the most polluting petrol and diesel cars will simply drive around the edge of the scheme and park outside the charging zone to avoid fees. This would turn many residential housing estates into “park and ride” regions where drivers dumped their vehicles and got a bus into the city centre.

This could create massive problems for local communities with “nowhere to park” for residents.

Conservative Councillor for Horfield, Claire Hiscott has pushed her proposal to introduce a “liveable neighbourhood”.

This would turn many areas into a Low Traffic Neighborhood and would create restrictions for those using the roads.

She said: “If you look at those main arteries, the main bus routes into the city centre, wherever it is possible to park, jump on a bus, that is going to become a park and ride. I can see it happening in a lot of places.

“Horfield is basically, has become a bit of an unofficial park and ride anyway, because people drive in from outside of Bristol, they park somewhere where they can then hop on a bus.

“The impact is that there is nowhere to park in Horfield at all, ever.

“And so far, nobody’s ever thought about the fact that we might need to be a liveable neighbourhood.”

Labour Councillor Celia Phipps said she was also worried about parking at her Bedminster ward.

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She has also demanded the council looks into the possibility of introducing a liveable neighbourhood scheme to counter the problem.

The council’s head of strategic city transport Adam Crowther said there were a “lot of things” to consider ahead of the October launch.

However, he has previously claimed some income from the Clean Air Zone scheme will be spent on creating some sort of “liveable neighbourhood” scheme.

He has also claimed the effect of polluting cars travelling around the outside of the zone would be a “relatively limited” problem.

He added: “There are an awful lot of things to consider about how we prioritise where these schemes are implemented.

“Certainly the Clean Air Zone would be one of the factors that would influence where priorities are placed.

“One thing you have to consider is, if you’re creating a liveable neighbourhoods, it needs really to give people a viable route in and out of town by bike, otherwise it’s quite hard to justify the changes, to some extent.”

Tens of thousands of drivers will be charged £9 per day to use the Clean Air Zone if the council’s plans are approved by the Government.

The charges will apply to the most polluting vehicles with diesel Euro 5 Standard or below and Petrol cars Euro 3 and below set to be affected.

The Council has announced people on low incomes earning less than £12.45 per hour will be able to apply for a one-year exemption if they need to drive in and out of the zone for work.

Those who live inside the Clean Air Zone and Blue-Badge holders will also be eligible for an exemption.

Exemptions are also being considered for people who have to go to hospital appointments regularly. 

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