Bristol’s Clean Air Zone plans revealed

Bristol is set to get a Clean Air Zone in October – with tens of thousands of drivers charged to enter if plans are approved by the government.

But not every driver of a polluting vehicle will be charged to enter the zone for the first year of the scheme – with the council setting out a number of exemptions, including blue badge holders and people attending hospital appointments.

The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is a designated area around the city centre, which will mean certain highly polluting vehicles will have to pay a fee each time they drive in.

Polluting cars, taxis and light goods vehicles (LGVs) will face a charge of £9 a day – while larger vehicles, such as buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), will pay a daily fee of £100.

The charge does not apply to European standard 4, 5 and 6 petrol vehicles, made from around 2006 onwards and European standard 6 diesel vehicles, from around 2015 onwards.

The CAZ must be in place by 29 October – with the council having to meet a legal obligation to reduce the city’s traffic air pollution within legal limits in the shortest possible time.

Exemptions

On Wednesday 17 February, during a press briefing, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said there would be a number of exemptions to protect certain groups.

He said: “We will be putting mitigations in place to support people through the transition. 

“We don’t want the burden falling disproportionately on people who are most vulnerable and we don’t want to undermine jobs within the city.”

Those who will be able to apply for a one year exemption also include people who live in the CAZ and low income earners of less than £24,000 a year and no more than £12.45 per hour – if they have to drive in and out of the zone to get to work. 

It is hoped this will give people time to upgrade to cleaner vehicles and take advantage of financial support and scrappage schemes.

The council is also looking into a support scheme for hospitals – for families who are frequent visitors to loved ones, especially children, or who regularly attend hospital appointments. 

If plans are approved by the cabinet on 25 February, the intention is to submit them to the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit the following day.

The council has estimated if traffic returns to pre-Covid levels, about 74,700 out of 258,000 vehicles would be charged when the zone goes live.

For more information visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/streets-travel/bristol-caz