Bristol City Council proposes diesel ban

Bristol City Council is proposing a diesel vehicle ban combined with a clean air zone charge as part of a “bold approach” to tackle air quality. This followed a six-week long public consultation in the summer when more than 5,000 responses were received.

The proposal would see all diesel vehicles banned from a small area in the city centre and a larger charging zone for older, less efficient commercial vehicles such as buses and taxis. Private cars would be included in the small area ban but would not face charges. A scrappage scheme for older diesel vehicles would also be launched.

The city council’s cabinet approved the plans on 5 November and, and, if accepted by government, the changes will be introduced in March 2021.

According to Bristol City Council’s outline business case (OBC) for the move: “This bold approach demonstrates both our commitment to clean air and our wider commitment to tackling climate change in the city; both of which require step changes to tackle these challenges.

“To support this option and support businesses and residents impacted, a wide range of mitigation measures are being considered. Amongst others these include: a scrappage grant scheme and provision of grants to businesses affected; cycling, walking, bus and traffic management infrastructure schemes; further sustainable travel choice programmes; and ensuring exemptions and concessions are in place for certain groups such as blue badge holders and emergency vehicles”.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “Industry wants to see all cities, including Bristol, meet their targets and continues to invest in ever more advanced technology to help improve our environment. However, this proposed blanket ban, which goes against government’s guidelines, fails to distinguish between modern vehicles and decades-old technologies and will only cause confusion for drivers while also undermining efforts to boost air quality.

“Instead, we need a clear and consistent national approach to clean air zones that incentivises uptake of the latest, low emission vehicles, including new Euro 6 diesels, which are the cleanest ever produced, alongside improvements to traffic flow and investment in charging infrastructure.”

Bristol City Council’s website states that detailed implementation information will be developed as part of the process of producing the Full Business Case (FBC). Further consultation will take place in relation to the detail of the implementation of the preferred option. “The Council will be coming forward with plan for a series of stakeholder activity which will be informed in part by the detailed outcomes of the consultation.”

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