Birmingham City Council has announced the launch of its new clean air zone (CAZ) has been postponed.
The CAZ had been expected to go live on July 1 as part of the council’s transport plan, but the decision to delay was made after problems emerged on the online government vehicle checker used to determine vehicle compliance.
It is now expected that the scheme will be introduced six months after the ‘glitch’ is fixed
The online vehicle checker was launched by the government last week so drivers who enter their number plate can find out if they are liable for daily CAZ charges.
But concerns were raised about the accuracy of the information being provided.
It emerged that some of the earliest diesel vehicles meeting modern Euro 6 emissions standards are incorrectly showing as being liable for Birmingham’s daily £8 fee.
A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “The Government has recognised the teething problems with its clean air zone vehicle checker and is working to iron out any issues as quickly as possible.
“Once those issues are resolved, there needs to be a period for motorists to check and prepare – and it has been suggested that this be a six-month period in fairness to all concerned. This remains in line with the previously-stated CAZ launch estimate of summer 2020.
“The key message is that if you are driving a Euro 4 petrol vehicle or Euro 6 diesel your vehicle will be compliant with Birmingham’s CAZ.”
Birmingham City Council’s transport plan proposes that vehicles will be able to drive into the city, but would have to go back out to the ring road to access other areas.
Birmingham Transport Plan 2031 aims to reduce transport’s damaging impact on the environment, supporting the city’s commitment to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030. In addition to environmental benefits, the plan intends to “reconnect communities by prioritising people over cars”.
In the document, Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment at Birmingham City Council, says: "Over-dependence on private cars is bad for the health of ourselves and our families, bad for our communities and bad for business as measured by the millions of pounds of lost productivity caused by congestion.
"The more journeys we take by walking and cycling, the more we will improve air quality and our health and the more we will reduce congestion."
The city’s vision for its transport is for a sustainable, green, inclusive, go-anywhere network. It states that safe and healthy environments will make active travel – walking and cycling – the first choice for people making short journeys.
A fully integrated, high quality public transport system will be the” go-to choice for longer trips”, resulting in a “smart, innovative, carbon neutral and low emission network” that will support “sustainable and inclusive economic growth, tackle climate change and promote the health and well-being of Birmingham’s citizens”.
According to the council, 25% of all car journeys undertaken by Birmingham residents are less than a mile.