Plans for a Clean Air Zone in Bristol look likely to be delayed again because of a national change to bus lane regulations.
The news was revealed during a press conference this week by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees who blamed Westminster for delays – saying the city council had done “everything we can.”
The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) was originally planned to come into force last October but was pushed back until this summer and then September this year. It is now likely the scheme will be delayed again due to the changes to bus lane regulations.
Mr Rees said: “We have done everything we can in Bristol. There has been a bit of an issue.
“A national change to bus lane regulations by the government has actually resulted in one of the suppliers of the implementation changing their work programme. So that’s a national issue that could result in some issues…
“We’re going to get some clarity for us on the consequences of this change. Physically and socially, we’ve done what we can as a local authority, but we need the government to come through now.”
In 2017, Bristol, along with other cities was ordered by government to bring its toxic NO2 levels within legal limits as quickly as possible.
The new CAZ will charge smaller vehicles that do not meet the emissions standards £9 and larger vehicles £100 – in a bid to cut harmful air pollution from vehicles driving in the city centre. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The council says three quarters of drivers in the city are already compliant and has been urging residents to get ready for the CAZ with a package of support. Some drivers have been given exemptions until the end of 2022 but these might not continue into 2023.
For more information about the CAZ and support available visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/streets-travel/bristol-caz