Bristol looks at 8-hour daily ban on diesel cars
Plans to improve Bristol’s air quality could result in all diesel cars being banned from the city centre for a limited period each day.
The much delayed Traffic Clean Air Zone plan was brought to Cabinet for approval on June 18. The administration has twice missed Government-imposed deadlines to come up with a clean air plan for Bristol to deal with the pollution levels in the city centre which frequently exceed EU recommended levels of nitrogen dioxide, harming people’s health.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “To successfully tackle serious and complex city challenges like poor air quality we must ensure environmental and social justice go hand in hand.
“These latest proposals could strike the right balance by targeting the most polluting vehicles within specific classes of vehicle and by considering a dedicated area outside our central Bristol hospitals including the children’s hospital, where we want to protect those most vulnerable to pollution.”
The Traffic Clean Air Zone plan has been developed to protect public health and reach compliant legal standards of harmful emissions from nitrogen dioxide, without negatively impacting transport options for people on lower incomes. Bristol City Council is proposing:
• Option 1, Clean Air Zone (private cars not charged) – this includes a local scrappage scheme, improvements to buses and taxis to compliant standards, bus and local traffic interventions in the most polluting areas, incorporating a bus lane on the M32, a targeted diesel ban on the highway past the Bristol Royal Infirmary and a charging scheme for polluting buses, taxis, light goods and heavy goods vehicles
• Option 2, Diesel car ban – all diesel cars are banned from entering a specific central area for an eight-hour period (from 7am-3pm).
Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze councillor Geoff Gollop said: “We have waited a long time for a plan and would have expected an explanation of all the details, but as happens so often nowadays, we only see the plan a week before it goes to Cabinet and it leaves many questions unanswered. I have a real concern that shifting diesel vehicles from the inner City will only succeed in reducing the clean air for everyone. In short, the report is too late, too confused with too many uncertainties.”
Councillor Steve Smith added: “I understand that the Mayor wants to produce a plan which doesn’t impact financially on poorer Bristolians. That is a laudable aim, but there can be no excuse for dithering and inactivity on this. While he commissions yet more reports from yet more consultants, it is precisely the poorest in our city who are suffering the most because of our illegally polluted air.”
During public questions to the Mayor at Cabinet the ‘Bristol Clean Air Alliance’ asked for public health research of the options explored by the council but were told that the relevant evidence would not be available until December 2019.
A six-week public consultation on the options is due to start on July 1.