The city of Bristol, England is ready to introduce its Clean Air Zone in the summer of 2022. The goal of the project is to help improve air quality by reducing harmful levels of air pollution caused by traffic, while also ensuring everyone in the city benefits from a healthy and natural environment. The council has worked closely with the UK government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) to ensure the city will remain on track to reduce pollution caused by traffic to within legal limits by the year 2023.
The size of the zone and its boundaries in the central area of the city were chosen to meet air quality targets in the shortest possible time. The zone is intended to encourage drivers to either update their vehicles, change their route, change their mode of transport, or not make the trip at all. The council has approved a package of financial support to help residents and businesses adapt to the called for changes. Some of the support includes loans and grants to be launched in the autumn of 2021; a one-year exemption offered to residents inside the zone with a non-compliant vehicle; funding for a new cycle project; and free electric bike loans.
While no vehicles are banned from entering the zone, older and more polluting vehicles will have to pay a daily charge. These charges will apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week – but there is only one charge for entering the zone in each 24 hour period. The city estimates that over 71% of vehicles affected are already compliant and so only a minority of vehicles will be charged. It’s expected that this percentage of complaint vehicles will increase over In subsequent years as more people take advantage of financial support to switch to a cleaner vehicle or different modes of transport.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said, “we don’t want to charge people, we want to provide the opportunity to work with us – hopefully, switching to a cleaner vehicle and walking or cycling for shorter journeys as well as using public transport. Our new plans will ensure that everyone that needs help on our journey to cleaner air, gets it.”