Exemptions for certain groups and businesses until end of 2022 to give time to prepare
A Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will launch next summer to enable Bristol to meet clean air targets in 2023 – with exemptions for certain groups until the end of 2022.
The new CAZ would mean older more polluting vehicles would be charged to enter a zone in the city centre.
The government has also agreed £42 million of funding for greener transport initiatives – which could include electric bike loans, free bus tickets and upgrades to cleaner vehicles.
The city is one of a number ordered by the government to bring its toxic NO2 levels within legal limits as quickly as possible – but Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees is adamant he will “minimise any disproportionate impact” of the CAZ on businesses and citizens.
He said: “This is a real win for the city. We are introducing one of the most wide-ranging clean air zones in the UK which will see us not only reduce air pollution but also help people change how they travel, delivering a cleaner, greener and healthier city for years to come.
“We are tackling a climate emergency, but we also have people facing financial crisis. We can’t look at these two things in isolation. We have taken our time to find a way to clean up our air while not adding huge financial strain to people that live and work in our city.”
The council says around 71 per cent of vehicles in Bristol are already compliant so won’t have to pay to enter the zone.
The charges will be £9 a day for smaller vehicles and £100 for larger ones – and the CAZ will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Help for individuals and businesses
The approved plan also includes “significant measures to reduce pollution in the city and meet clean air targets” – by helping more individuals and businesses switch to cleaner ways of travelling.
- £5.9 million will be spent on helping people switch to public transport and make more journeys by walking or cycling with free bus tickets, free electric bike loans and cycle training
- A £2 million freight consolidation project will be set up to help businesses switch to greener ways of transporting goods and meet the council’s target of 95 per cent of all city centre deliveries made by zero-emission vehicles within 10 years
- £2.1 million of funding has been allocated to help local bus and coach companies
- £32 million for businesses to upgrade HGVs, LGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles.
- £1.8 million of loans and grants will be available to help people on low incomes, or those travelling to work/study in the zone, that need to upgrade their vehicles to meet the zone’s emission standards
Exemptions to give people time to prepare
A range of exemptions will be available to give eligible businesses and individuals time to prepare for the zone. All residents in the CAZ with a vehicle that doesn’t meet its emission standards can apply for an exemption giving them until the end of 2022 to upgrade it.
Exemptions will be available for groups including:
- People on low incomes travelling into the zone for work
- Patients and visitors to hospitals in the zone
- Blue Badge holders and people with a disabled tax class vehicle or disabled passenger tax class vehicle
- Community transport providers operating under a Section 19 permit
- People with commercial vehicles subject to finance agreements
- Council-funded buses, minibuses or coaches used as Home to School vehicles
- Families who receive Personal Travel Budgets who travel through the zone on their school route
To find out about financial support available and to register your interest visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/bristol-caz/financial-support
To check if your vehicle will be charged visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/streets-travel/bristol-caz/charges-and-checker
If you need more information or help to prepare for the Clean Air Zone email CAZSupport@bristol.gov.uk or write to Transport Engagement Team, PO Box 3399, Bristol, BS1 9NE.