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New Air Quality Plan Targets Most Polluting Vehicles

December 21, 2015
Environmental Protection

Details of Whitehall’s response to the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year were included in the new air quality plan which will introduce Clean Air Zones in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton by 2020 with the government concentrating on the most polluting vehicles in its attempts to ensure major UK cities comply with EU air quality standards. Controversially, the new zones will not affect private cars but will look to control buses, taxi’s, coaches and lorries by introducing congestion charges.

All vehicles that comply with the latest emission standards will be exempt from charges. Clean Air Zones will be concentrated in areas where air quality is considered to be poorest; a similar initiative has been operating in Germany and Denmark for a number of years. Environment Secretary, Elizabeth Truss said: “Our Clean Air Zones are targeted on the largest vehicles, whilst not affecting car owners and minimising the impact on business. We want to ensure people can continue to drive into city centres and by targeting action at the most polluting coaches, taxis, buses and lorries we will encourage the use of cleaner vehicles.”

Charges set by local authorities must be at levels designed to reduce pollution and not go beyond recovering the reasonable costs of the scheme. Annual mean concentrations of NOx in some UK cities have been in breach of EU limits since 2010, prompting pressure group Client Earth to take court action against the government in April.

You can view details of the Air Quality Plan HERE