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Birmingham reveals start date for Clean Air Zone

Birmingham has followed Bath in announcing a start date for its charging Clean Air Zone scheme.

Birmingham’s CAZ will cover an area of the city inside the inner ring road

The Birmingham scheme will go live in June 2021, on the back of the 15 March 2021 start date for the Bath scheme, after the Government approved both launch dates.

However, while the Bath scheme will stick to targeting buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs and light goods vehicles (LGVs), the Birmingham scheme goes one step further and includes private cars. Charges will apply to pre-euro 6 diesel and pre-euro 4 petrol vehicles.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, said: “Poor air quality remains a public health risk and a Clean Air Zone provides the city with an effective tool for tackling this issue in the shortest possible time.”

Birmingham’s scheme will cover an area of the city inside the inner ring road (A4540 Middleway) and is expected to affect about 25% of vehicles. It’s being backed by a range of exemptions and financial incentives, with a total value of some £35m, to help residents, city centre workers and businesses prepare for its introduction.

The scheme, along with a CAZ in Leeds, was due to go live at the start of 2020 but was delayed, initially due to delays from the Government side but later because of coronavirus.

Logistics UK has welcomed the long lead time on the introduction of both the Birmingham and Bath schemes, which policy manager Chris Yarsley said would allow logistics operators time to plan new business practices and speed vehicle replacement timelines where necessary.

“News that support packages will be available for operators to assist with the acquisition of Euro 6 standard vehicles is also positive encouragement for a sector which has been impacted by the downturn of the economy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and is only now starting to return to pre-pandemic levels of trading.

“Logistics operators remain committed to cleaning up urban air but it is important that other contributory factors to air quality are also considered in the longer term, including improvements to traffic flow patterns, retiming of deliveries and the introduction of alternatively fuelled vehicles, as well as other sources of air pollution, to the benefit of all,” he commented.

Fleets and drivers can check their vehicles to see if they’ll be charged using the Government’s central CAZ service.

Those affected are urged to visit the council’s websites at  www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathCaz and https://www.brumbreathes.co.uk/ for a list of local exemptions and whether they might be eligible for financial support to upgrade their vehicle or fleet.

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has nearly 20 years of fleet journalism experience, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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