Clean air zones in UK cities have been branded another ‘profit scheme’

Several UK cities have now set up Clean Air Zones (CAZs) to help improve air quality by charging a fee to the most polluting vehicles to encourage more sustainable transport options. However, a new reader survey found widespread opposition to the plans.

Bristol will be the next city to launch a CAZ on Monday November 28, which will see non-compliant petrol and diesel cars, taxis and LCVs being charged £9 to drive in the zone. HGVs, buses and coaches will face a daily charge of £100, but motorcycles, fully electric and zero-emission vehicles are exempt.

Bristol Mayor Martin Rees said: “This is an important step in our journey towards cleaner air and creating a healthier future for all in Bristol.

He continued: “We need to reduce harmful pollution in the city and reach the legal limits set by the government as soon as possible, but we also want to give those who need it a little more time to prepare. This could mean upgrading or changing a vehicle or trying different, more sustainable ways to travel instead.

Bath, Birmingham and Portsmouth were among the first cities to introduce CAZ in 2021, with many more starting to roll out with the launch of Bradford last month and a Tyneside CAZ covering Newcastle and Gateshead will start charging from January 30 2023.

READ MORE: CAZs are ‘an important step’ but could ‘confuse’ many drivers

In a poll that ran from 3 p.m. Monday November 14 to 7:30 a.m. Thursday November 24, asked readers: “Do you support clean air zones in UK cities?

A total of 1,003 people voted with the vast majority, with 91% (913 people) answering “no” to the introduction of CAZs.

Eight percent (79 people) said “yes” they supported the CAZ and another percent (11 people) said they didn’t know.

Dozens of comments were left under the accompanying article like readers shared their thoughts on dietsmost opposing their implementation.

Greater Manchester CAZ was due to launch in May this year but was postponed to February, allowing for consultation.

The project was expected to be the largest emission-based pricing zone in the UK, but has already cost £62m, according to recent reports.

Stockport councilor Mark Roberts said: ‘It is disappointing that the chaos in Westminster will cost taxpayers significantly and the frank work our officers have done to improve the air quality in Manchester.

A spokesperson for Clean Air GM said: “Protecting people’s health is a priority and, as in many other parts of the country, the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester have worked on the basis of a determined process by the government to develop a plan to clean our air.

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