Birmingham City Council has written to central government requesting the launch of its charging Clean Air Zone be postponed.
Originally due to go live in January, Birmingham’s ‘Class D’ zone was pushed back to the summer following delays to the Government’s supporting vehicle check services and would have levied charges on all non-compliant vehicles, from cars to vans, HGVs and buses.
However, the council has requested to delay the launch of the zone until at least the end of 2020 as it highlights how both residents and businesses are being impacted by Covid-19 and are unable to look into switching to compliant vehicles.
The council has added that any postponement would be kept under constant review in conjunction with the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “The current situation has meant we need to make changes to our original plans. Covid-19 is having a profound impact on the economy of the city and our preparations for the Clean Air Zone.
“However, air pollution remains an ongoing concern for this city. Once we have addressed coronavirus in the immediate term, poor air quality will continue to be a significant issue in the long term, and we should not be complacent.
“We believe that a Clean Air Zone in Birmingham remains the most effective way of making a sustainable improvement to Birmingham’s air quality and we will continue to put in place the infrastructure required to support it.”
Applications are still open though for Clean Air Zone temporary exemption permits. These will be available to residents, low-income workers and businesses in the Clean Air Zone for a period of one to two years after launch and are subject to eligibility criteria.