PMQs: PM says Clean Air Zone is ‘unworkable’
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Following on from the successful Clean Air Zone launches in Bath, Birmingham and Portsmouth, a handful of other cities are set to introduce their own. Delays have been caused by a lack of CAZ-compliant vehicles and driver dissatisfaction, which has seen Manchester, Bristol and Bradford all postpone their launches.
The Government has written to the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham calling on him to reduce the zone by 95 percent or more.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said that high-polluting vehicles should only be charged in the most polluted area in Manchester city centre.
Mr Eustice said there is ‘little robust evidence’ that offering funding for vehicle upgrades alone without charges would bring pollution below legal limits.
Andy Burnham has insisted that he will “continue to argue” to have a “non-charging” scheme.
Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Zone was supposed to start charging some vehicles up to £60 a day for driving on most roads in the city region on May 30
It was paused in February as some businesses complained of struggling to get access to compliant vehicles.
The Greater Manchester Air Quality Administration Committee is currently working on a revised plan for the CAZ which will be delivered by July 1.
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The launch of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone could be facing yet another delay because of national issues with bus lane regulations.
The scheme was due to launch in September and would have seen certain drivers paying a £9 daily charge to drive in the city.
Mayor Marvin Rees said the bus lane changes were made by the Government and Bristol City Council has done “everything we can”.
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Mr Rees said the change in regulations resulted in one of their suppliers “changing their work programme” as reported by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Bristol City Council is legally required to introduce measures to cut harmful air pollution from vehicles driving in the city centre.
Drivers of larger vehicles would have been charged £100 per day if their vehicles were not compliant with the emissions rules.
Generally, petrol vehicles registered before January 1, 2006, and diesel vehicles registered before September 2015 would likely be charged to drive in the city.
Bradford City Council has confirmed that its Clean Air Zone will come into force on September 26.
HGVs, buses and coaches which are non-compliant will be charged £50 per day, while LGVs and minibuses are set to be charged £9 a day.
Private hire vehicles and taxis will face a fee of £7 to enter the city centre.
Passenger cars and motorbikes will not be charged in Bradford’s CAZ but may be charged in other cities with zones.
According to the council, £30million has been spent preparing for the scheme.
Almost 3,500 businesses had applied for grants to hit emissions targets.
More than 370 buses meet the standards, with 33 electric ones introduced from next year and 87 percent of the city’s taxis are now compliant.
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