National and Devolved Politics

25.03.20

Birmingham City Council calls for delay to Clean Air Zone

Birmingham City Council has addressed central government this week (Mar 23) calling for a delay to the launch of its Clean Air Zone.

As regions across the country battle with Covid-19 restrictions, workers and residents in Birmingham are needing to prioritise the health of their families and their businesses before the plans for a Clean Air Zone.

Clean Air Zones look at improving air quality in certain areas by limiting access to older vehicles, issuing fines for non-compliance and making vehicles more environmentally friendly.

Rather than carrying out the upgrade to their vehicle fleets, precious resources must be spent supporting employees and operating more key services to keep the region going amid the crisis.

The letter, written to Grant Shapps and MP George Eustice, has requested a delay of the launch until at least the end of the calendar year, but with ongoing reviews in conjunction with the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment said:

“The current situation has meant we need to make changes to our original plans. COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the economy of the city and our preparations for the Clean Air Zone.

“However, air pollution remains an on-going concern for this city. Once we have addressed coronavirus in the immediate term, poor air quality will continue to be a significant issue in the long term, and we should not be complacent.

“We believe that a Clean Air Zone in Birmingham remains the most effective way of making a sustainable improvement to Birmingham’s air quality and we will continue to put in place the infrastructure required to support it.”

Temporary exemption permits for the Clean Air Zone remain open for applications from residents, low income workers and businesses inside the Clean Air Zone for up to two years after the launch.

Other towns and cities across the UK are set to bring in Clean Air Zones in the coming months and years, including Sheffield and Leeds.

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