Diesel ban for centre and charging zone could be in place by 2021
BRISTOL is set to become the first city in the UK to ban all diesel vehicles from part of the city centre.
The council's cabinet is being asked to approve what is described as "an ambitious plan for a Clean Air Zone in the city, which will deliver the fastest possible improvement in air quality against targets for nitrogen dioxide legal limits".
The plan recommends introducing a "small area diesel ban for all vehicles", alongside a "charging zone" for older commercial vehicles, such as buses, taxis and lorries.
A car scrappage scheme would also be launched under the plan, along with improving and prioritising public transport to reduce reliance on cars and increase the number of bus users.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “These ambitious plans demonstrate our commitment to tackling air pollution so we meet legal limits within the shortest time, without disproportionally affecting citizens on lower incomes, which would happen with a blanket approach to charging vehicles.
“Protecting the most vulnerable people from pollution is central to these plans and we have ensured that all impacts have been carefully considered. If approved, mitigation measures will support those most affected, especially those living in the most deprived communities.”
A city-wide public consultation took place on the plans over the summer, alongside technical work involving the council and the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit.
The areas in the zone's outline business case (OBC), set to be presented at the cabinet meeting on November 5, are similar to those outlined during the consultation.
That would mean all diesel vehicles being banned from entering a specific central area around Broadmead, Temple Meads, Redcliffe, the Centre and Harbourside, for an eight-hour period from 7am-3pm each day.
The charging zone for older commercial vehicles would cover a wider part of the inner city: approaching from Fishponds, it would start by Stapleton Road Station. Private cars would not be charged.
If approved by cabinet, the OBC will be submitted to the government the following day. The council will then continue to work closely with JAQU on preparing the full business case for submission next year. This will include "direct engagement with all businesses and residents affected", the council says, including details of mitigations measures and exemptions.
The deadline for the implementation of the plans is March 2021.
A report on the health impacts of air pollution produced for the city council two years ago estimated that 625 people per year died as a result of exposure to nitrogen dioxide and particulates from vehicle exhausts.
And days of high pollution were identified as the cause of an extra four out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and 18 incidents of children or adults being hospitalised with asthma or strokes in the city every year, in data published by King’s College London and UK100, a network of local leaders, last month.