Birmingham City Council has launched its clean air zone (CAZ) today (June 1), requiring non-compliant cars, vans and trucks to pay a daily fee to enter the city centre.
The Class D CAZ applies to all vehicles that do not meet the minimum emissions standards of Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol.
Restrictions apply to all roads within Birmingham’s A4540 Middleway Ring Road, except the ring road itself. The CAZ is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including bank holidays.
The council confirmed that it will introduce the zone through a ‘soft launch’, where the council will not require drivers to pay the daily fee and will not pursue enforcement until June 14, 2021.
Cabinet member for transport and environment at Birmingham City Council, councillor Waseem Zaffar, said: "After more than two years of planning, I'm delighted to launch Birmingham's Clean Air Zone.
“This is a bold move that will help to address some significant health inequalities in our city. This is also an important step in encouraging people to re-think how we all move around the city.”
Cars, vans and taxis will face an £8 charge, while HGVs, buses and coaches will be charged £50 per day.
Birmingham’s CAZ is the second to be launched this year, following Bath, but zones are also imminent in Bristol, Bradford, Portsmouth, Greater Manchester, Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside.
The zone’s introduction was delayed by more than a year, first by a government systems issue and then by the coronavirus pandemic.
Birmingham City Council launched a vehicle scrappage and travel credit scheme ahead of the opening of its CAZ.
The £10 million package aims to support people working in the city’s CAZ and who earn less than £30,000 per year, with the option of scrapping a vehicle that would otherwise be subject to the daily fee.
In return for scrapping a vehicle, successful applicants will receive a £2,000 grant which can be used on a ‘travel credit’ or to purchase a vehicle that meets the emission standards of the new CAZ.
Chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), Gerry Keaney, said: “Our rental and leasing members are a good option for someone who regularly travels through a clean air zone.
“They have a huge variety of CAZ-compliant vehicles that are available on a flexible and fixed-cost basis.
“They are already helping tens of thousands of businesses and individuals make the leap to fully zero-emission motoring and can provide electric vehicles and charging solutions to meet every need.”
ClientEarth welcomes the CAZ
Environmental law charity ClientEarth has welcomed the CAZ.
ClientEarth lawyer Katie Nield said: “Dirty air has been putting people in danger for too long. A clean air zone in Birmingham is a major step forward in tackling the region’s toxic air problem and making the city a healthier and better place to live.
“It’s important to remember that these schemes are put in place for a reason: to protect people’s health.
“Road transport is the biggest source of illegal pollution in our cities and CAZs are proven to be the most effective way to quickly reduce this pollution.
“Birmingham has stepped up to the challenge and is doing the right thing. So, it is essential that the UK government now plays its part.
“It needs to provide help and support to people and businesses – particularly those on low incomes and small businesses – so they can move to cleaner forms of transport.”
Find out more about current and upcoming CAZs, use the Fleet News clean air zone checker.
Learnings from Bath Clean Air Zone to be shared at Virtual Smart Transport Conference
Bath & North East Somerset Council will provide an in-depth overview of how its newly launched Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will help address air quality challenges in the city at next week's Virtual Smart Transport Conference.
The event takes place on June 8-9 and is free to attend, with registration open now.