Car tax changes launched in Bristol will ‘hit the pockets’ of petrol and diesel owners

‘Clean air zone’ plans mean diesel drivers could face charges

It is expected drivers of the most polluting petrol and diesel cars will be charged up to £9 per day to use their vehicles in the city when the new scheme is introduced later this year. Bristol City Council were hoping a drop in vehicle use during the lockdown would satisfy the Government’s demand for better air quality.

However, it is believed the threshold has not been met after Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees revealed private car owners would also be hit with charges.

Mayor Marvin Rees said the city would need to implement a CAZ D which would see private vehicles and taxis hot with charges.

In a Facebook statement, he said: “The evidence that has come through the modelling suggests we are going to be implementing a small area CAZ D.

“This is in line with our moral responsibility to deliver clean air in the shortest possible time but also that’s going to be tested legally because the legal requirement is to get to compliance in the shortest possible time.

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“A small area CAZ D seems to be the one coming out of the modelling that says it will provide that route.”

Clean Air for Bristo has confirmed charges have not yet been finalised but would be set at a level which would encourage people to change how they travel.

They confirmed diesel vehicles which are older than Euro 5 and petrol vehicle Euro 3 or older would face fees.

Clean Air for Bristol’s current estimates put a £9 daily charge for private petrol and diesel cars as well as taxis and LGVs.

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However, those who drive a HGV, bus or coach into the charging zone would be expected to pay £100 to use the roads.

Charges will be applied 24 hours as day, seven days a week for non-compliant vehicles.

Residents have been assured they would only be charged once per day if they made multiple journeys.

Clean Air for Bristol said they are currently considering exemptions for low-income households and small businesses and would confirm details in early 2021.

The Mayor confirmed the scheme would “hit the pockets” of households in Bristol despite the financial hardships caused by the pandemic.

Mr Rees said: “We have always said a charging zone is a blunt instrument. We want to work with behaviour change.

“We are concerned about the potential unintended consequences of charging on household and business income particularly at this time of financial challenge for so many.

“So what we are going to do is, as well as taking action to deliver that compliance, we will be looking at how we can support people through that transition.

“This will hit the pockets of households and businesses within Bristol.”

A map of the draft CAZ D boundary shows the charge will cover the eastern side of Bridge Valley Road.

The charges will clover much of the city centre including Millenium Square, Queen Square and Temple Quay.

Clean Air for Bristol said a final decision on the charges would be made before Spring 2021 with a new charge not introduced before October 2021.

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