Clean Air Zones in UK cities blasted as another ‘money-making scheme’

Clean Air Zones in UK cities blasted as another ‘money-making scheme’

Several UK cities now have Clean Air Zones (CAZs) enforced to help improve air quality by charging the most polluting vehicles a fee to encourage more sustainable transport options. Yet, a new poll of readers has found widespread opposition to the schemes.

Bristol will be the next city to launch a CAZ on Monday, November 28, which will see non-compliant petrol and diesel cars, taxis and LGVs being charged £9 to drive in the zone. HGVs, buses and coaches will face daily charges of £100 yet motorbikes, fully-electric and zero-emission vehicles are exempt.

Mayor of Bristol Martin Rees said: “This is an important step on our journey to cleaner air and creating a healthier future for everyone in Bristol.”

He continued: “We need to reduce harmful pollution in the city and reach the legal limits set by Government in the shortest time possible, but we also want to give those who need it, a bit more time to prepare. That could mean upgrading or changing a vehicle or trying out different and more sustainable ways to travel instead.”

Bath, Birmingham and Portsmouth were among the first cities to introduce CAZ in 2021, and many others are beginning to be enforced with Bradford launching last month and a Tyneside CAZ covering Newcastle and Gateshead will begin charging from January 30, 2023.

READ MORE: CAZs are ‘an important step’ but could be ‘confusing’ many drivers

In a poll that ran from 3pm on Monday, November 14 to 7.30am on Thursday, November 24, asked readers: “Do you support clean air zones in UK cities?”

Overall 1,003 people cast their votes with the vast majority, 91 percent (913 people) answering “no” against the introduction of CAZs.

Eight percent (79 people) said “yes” they did support CAZs and a further one percent (11 people) said they did not know.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on the schemes, with most arguing against their implementation.

Greater Manchester’s CAZ had been expected to launch in May this year but was postponed in February, allowing for a consultation to take place.

The project was expected to be the largest emissions-based charging zone in the UK but has already cost £62million, according to recent reports.

Stockport councillor Mark Roberts said: “It’s disappointing that the chaos in Westminster is going to be costing taxpayers considerably and the work frankly that our officers have been doing to get better air quality for Manchester.”

A Clean Air GM spokesman said: “Protecting people’s health is a priority and in common with many other areas across the country, Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities have been working on the basis of a process determined by the Government to develop a plan to clean up our air.”

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Author: Shirley