Bristol has become the first city in the UK to vote to ban diesel vehicles from an area of the city centre during certain hours each day.
The council in the city has approved the plans to create a clean air zone in the city centre by 2021. This will involve banning all privately-owned diesel vehicles from the clean air zone between 7am and 3pm each day.
Bristol mayor Marvin Rees said that the council had a “moral, ecological and legal duty” to enact the changes and do more to improve air quality in the city.
One of the major issues that this will tackle is the high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air. Bristol is one of several UK cities where these particular emissions are at illegal levels, which the council states is having an impact on public health.
Although the city’s council has approved the creation of the clean air zone, the proposals will still go out to a public consultation in 2020, with Mr Rees explaining that they want to help reduce disruption as much as possible.
There are plans to introduce a fine for any vehicle that flouts the ban, although the level at which this is set has yet to be decided. Heavy goods vehicles, buses and taxis will still be allowed to enter the clean air zone, but will be charged to do so if they are diesel vehicles.
In addition to the public consultation, the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit will also review the proposals, the Independent explained.
Speaking to the Metro, the BBC Radio Bristol politics reporter Peter Simson commented: “It’s hard to overstate how significant a policy intervention this is.”
He added: “This is a first, no other UK city is introducing an outright diesel ban and it will require the government to introduce new legislation.”
The proposal from Bristol Council also involves a diesel scrappage scheme to help those who currently own older diesel models to switch to petrol, hybrid or electric alternatives.
Leeds is another of the UK cities that has high levels of air pollution and that was instructed by the government to create a clean air zone by 2020. However, it is taking a different approach to Bristol by creating a Clean Air Charging Zone that only applies to business vehicles, Leeds Live reported.
Under this scheme, private cars and light goods vehicles will be unaffected, but all heavy goods vehicles, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles will need to pay a daily charge if their vehicles don’t meet CAZ B+ emission standards.
The Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone is expected to be operational from July 2020. The local council has also secured some government funding that will be used to help businesses with highly polluting fleets of vehicles to transition to more environmentally friendly options.
If you currently drive a diesel vehicle, you need to make sure that it’s in good condition so that it meets current emission standards. If you’re concerned that your diesel particulate filter (dpf) isn’t working as it should, take it to a dpf doctor in Manchester to get it checked out.