'Clean air zone' plans mean diesel drivers could face charges
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The council Cabinet approved pains for a Clean Air Zone for the city with their proposals now submitted to the Government to be signed off. The council has opted for a small CAZ D system which will include charges for private vehicles.
They had the option to implement a larger zone for commercial vehicles but this would have exempted private models.
Bristol council said the new scheme offers a fair balance between supporting businesses and changing driver behaviour to improve air quality.
Mayor Marvin Rees said the changes would have an impact on both drivers and businesses.
However, he has called for everyone to make changes to their lives to help deliver clean air for the city.
Mayor Rees said: “We have a moral and legal responsibility to make our air cleaner and the submission of this Full Business Case is a significant intervention to improve public health.
“We recognise that these proposals will impact on individuals and businesses.
“We’re now calling on the Government to provide the funding needed to help us support these people.
“We’re grateful to the thousands of individuals and businesses who took part in our Clean Air Zone consultation and we want to continue working together on our journey towards a healthier city.
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“We cannot take on the task of delivering clean air alone – we need all of Bristol’s help if we are to protect each other from dangerous pollution and toxic fumes.
“We want everyone to look at the changes they can make to their own lifestyles.”
Under the CAZ D plans, no vehicles will be completely banned from entering the city centre and not every driver will be charged.
Bristol City Council said petrol cars newer than 2005 and diesel models newer than 2014 will be mostly exempt.
They have predicted as many as 71 percent of cars are already compliant, with this figure set to decrease as more people switch to newer models.
Melanie Watson, Co-Chair Bristol Transport Board said restrictions or charges would affect different groups.
She said: “Reducing traffic in the inner zone will bring benefits to air quality and people’s health and can enable greater use of sustainable travel options such as walking, cycling and public transport.
“We recognise that any restrictions and charges will affect different groups in different ways and welcome the proposed mitigations.
“There is a balance to achieve between incentivising changes to behaviours and not penalising certain communities or groups.”
As part of the transition, the council will support those who will be most affected by the changes.
Those who earn less than £24,000 a year or less than £12.45 per hour will be able to apply for a one-year exemption.
Exemptions will also be given to those who regularly pass through the charging zone for hospital visits.
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