Clean Air for Bristol

Your Questions Answered
Clean Air Zone – full FAQs


Bristol City Council’s ambitious plan to improve air quality to meet targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits has been submitted to Government following its approval by Cabinet on 5 November.

The Outline Business Case (OBC) recommends Bristol becomes the first city in the UK to take the bold step of introducing a diesel ban for private cars in the city centre and harbourside area which would operate daily from 7am to 3pm. There would also be a wider Clean Air Zone (CAZ) where non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs would be charged. A car scrappage scheme would also be launched.

Modelling that informed this ‘hybrid’ approach shows the council can meet the government test for improved air quality in the shortest time possible (by 2025) The hybrid approach also reduces the number of lower income households directly affected by the measures.

Further measures for tackling air quality through improving and prioritising public transport options are also suggested, which support the Mayor of Bristol’s pledge to reduce the reliance on cars and increase the number of bus users.

The Outline Business Case will now be considered by the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU). The council will continue to work closely with JAQU on preparing the Full Business Case for submission next year.

As part of the Full Business Case, the council will engage with business, organisations and residents affected to help manage how the Clean Air and Diesel Ban areas can be implemented, including details of mitigations measures and exemptions. The deadline for the implementation of the plans is March 2021.

  • All the documents for the Outline Business Case can be found HERE
  • Click HERE for the Cabinet report
  • Click HERE for the Executive Summary
  • Click HERE for the Boundary Update
  • Click HERE for the Finance Case
  • Click HERE for the Consultation Report


Your Questions Answered

Overview

  • What is a Clean Air Zone?

A Clean Air Zone is a specific location where immediate action is taken locally to improve air quality and health. It aims to reduce public exposure to all sources of pollution, including nitrogen dioxide, by enforcing restrictions and encouraging cleaner vehicles.

  • What is the plan?

We are introducing two zones to make the air quality in Bristol better. The first zone is a medium area Clean Air Zone where non-compliant commercial vehicles like buses, lorries and taxis will be charged to enter. Private vehicles will not be charged. Inside that zone there will be a smaller zone where private diesel vehicles are banned between 7am and 3pm daily.

  • What vehicles will be charged in the medium area CAZ?

Non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, coaches, taxis, Private Hire Vehicles (PHV), HGVs and LGVs. Most buses and taxis in Bristol are compliant so will not be affected.

  • Why are you introducing the Clean Air Zone and Diesel Ban Zone?

The Government has set a legal level for air quality in certain cities around the UK. We have been told that we must improve air quality in Bristol in the fastest way possible.

We have done a lot of work to find the best way to do this. Some people said we should charge all vehicles to enter a Clean Air Zone but we know not everyone can afford that. If we did that it would also take us longer to improve air quality.

  • Why is this only happening in the city centre? We need clean air across the city

The proposed Clean Air Zone and Diesel Ban focuses on the most polluted parts of the city meaning our overall air quality will improve.

  • I live next to the Clean Air Zone boundary, so will this move traffic and pollution into my area?. Won’t this plan just move pollution from one area to another?

There may be an impact in some localised areas with an increase in traffic however we have carefully planned and modelled this and the air quality will still be within legal limits.

We will continue to monitor these areas as part of our longer term journey to improve air quality cross the city.

  • What times will the zones be in operation?

The diesel ban area will operate between 0700-1500hrs every day of the week. There will be no restrictions outside these hours.


Clean Air Zone Information


• When will you introduce a charging zone for non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis and HGVs?

March 2021.

• How will you enforce the charge to the Clean Air Zone for commercial vehicles?

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will be used. Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) will be issued to drivers who choose not to pay the charge.

Diesel Ban Zone Information

• When will you introduce the small area diesel ban for all privately owned vehicles?

March 2021.

• What vehicles can go in the diesel ban area?

All commercial vehicles that have paid to enter the wider Clean Air Zone will be able to enter the diesel ban area. Private diesel cars will not be able to enter that zone but private petrol cars will be able to enter the zone.

• Are boats included in the diesel ban area?

No. Only private cars.

• How will you enforce the ban of private vehicles in the Diesel Ban Zone?

ANPR cameras will be used. PCNs will be issued to drivers who ignore the ban.

• How much will people be fined if they go into the Diesel Ban Zone?

The level of the PCN has not been decided. For the purposes of modelling the PCN was assumed at £60 (if paid within 14 days) and £120 (after 14 days). These assumptions will be further reviewed and tested as the full plan is developed.

• Can I pay to enter the Diesel Ban Zone?

Commercial vehicles that have paid to enter the Clean Air Zone can enter the Diesel Ban Zone as they will have already paid. Private vehicles are not charged to enter the Clean Air Zone, but are banned from the Diesel Ban Zone. They cannot pay to enter it during 0700-1500hrs, and will be fined if they do.

• What about petrol cars, are they banned?

Petrol cars are not affected. The Diesel Ban Zone is for private diesel vehicles only.

• Does the Diesel Ban Zone ban commercial lorries and vans? And if so, what weight of vehicle does it include?

No, commercial lorries and vans are not banned. If they are not compliant, they will have paid to enter the Clean Air Zone, and can move around in there, including the Diesel Ban Zone.

Charges for commercial vehicles should be tax deductible for businesses and traders.

• Will diesel taxis and private hire vehicles be banned from the city centre?

Most taxis in Bristol are compliant. Those that are not complaint will need to pay a daily charge to enter the Clean Air Zone. They can then move anywhere in the zone, including the Diesel Ban Area.

Compliant/non-compliant vehicles

• What is a compliant vehicle?

This is detailed by the Government here and in the grid below.

• How are diesel vehicles affected?

Non-compliant commercial diesel Taxis/Private Hire Vehicles, Light Goods Vehicles, Buses and Heavy Goods Vehicles will be charged for entering the Clean Air Zone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Charges for commercial vehicles should be tax deductible.

Privately registered diesel vehicles will not be charged for entering this zone.

Privately registered diesel vehicles will not be able to enter the Diesel Ban Zone between 0700-1500hrs, 7 days a week.

• Why are Euro 6 diesel cars banned but not old petrol cars?

To be legally compliant with the Government air quality levels, we must reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the city’s air to levels set by the government – in the shortest possible time.

While we know petrol cars also produce emissions, on average, petrol vehicle NO2 emissions are far lower than diesel.

• What is the science behind petrol and diesel?

By manufacturer group, Euro 6 petrol vehicle NO2 emissions for even the worst manufacturers were within 1.5 times the type-approval limit.

However for diesel vehicles, even the best manufacturer group had Euro 6 NO2 emissions of more than twice the type-approval limit, and all other manufacturer groups were at least four times the type-approval limit. Four manufacturer groups had average emissions of more than 12 times the type-approval limit.

So by introducing a Diesel Ban Zone we will be able to improve air quality and reduce NO2 as quickly as possible.

• Which taxis are considered compliant with the Clean Air Zone?

Compliant vehicles are Euro 6 and above for diesel taxis and Euro 4 and above for petrol taxis.

Scrappage scheme

• What if you can’t afford to buy a new car, but you need to go through the centre to get to work or live within the Diesel Ban Zone?

People with privately registered diesel cars will be able to drive into and through the Diesel Ban Zone outside the hours of 0700 – 1500hrs, seven days a week.

We are developing a car scrappage scheme for those looking to change from a diesel car, and will provide further information soon.

• Who will qualify for scrappage scheme?

We haven’t finalised details of the scrappage scheme yet. Before we do, we will work with stakeholders and businesses between now and February 2020 to look at possible concessions and exemptions e.g. sunset clauses.

Public transport

• What impact will this have on buses and taxis?

We will continue to work with operators to assist them with government funding for upgrades to help them reach compliance, and have already secured significant funding to assist them with upgrading their vehicles. Most taxis are complaint.

• How are you going to improve public transport so this is a better option?

Providing more public transport options for residents, commuters and visitors is a critical element part of improving the city’s air quality.

• How are you going to improve Park and Ride so we can leave cars outside of the city?

We are proposing seven new Park and Ride sites at: M32; A37 south; A4018; A38 north; A38 south; Yate; A420.

The existing current Brislington Park and Ride site will be relocated and expanded on a new site to the east on the A4. There are also proposals to expand the Long Ashton and Portway Park and Ride sites.

Financial support, exemptions and mitigations

• Is there any money available to help me if I am affected by this?

We have asked the Government to help us provide some ways to help people directly affected by the proposals. Between November 2019 and February 2020 (when our final plans go to Government) we will work closely with communities, businesses and other key stakeholders to better understand how they might be affected by the proposals so we can support them.

• What support will be provided to patients and hospital staff?

We have asked the government for funding so we can help people directly affected by the proposals. Between November 2019 and February 2020 (when our final clean air zone plans go to Government) we will work closely with the Hospital Trust and other stakeholders to better understand how they and their patients might be affected by the scheme.

We have put in bid to the Government for a package of Clean Air Fund measures designed to ease the impact of people directly affected by the proposals. Between November 2019 and February 2020 (when our final clean air zone business case goes to government) we will work closely with the Hospital Trust and other stakeholders to better understand how they and their patients might be affected by the proposals so we can put measures to support them.

• What support is being offered to blue badge holders and how will a support scheme operate?

We are working with stakeholders including disability groups to look at how potential concessions and exemptions might be put in place.

• I need to travel to the hospital regularly, and have a blue badge, will I be charged?

Between now and February 2020 we will work closely with the Hospital Trust to fully understand the impact of the proposals on patients and staff and look at any possible exemptions and concessions.

Technical information

  • Why do we have to have a Clean Air Zone in Bristol?

The UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations was produced by the government in July 2017. The plan says councils with the worst levels of air pollution at busy road junctions and other areas must take immediate action to reduce this to satisfactory levels.

In central Bristol harmful levels of nitro dioxide have been recorded, so a Clean Air Zone is needed to improve air quality and health in the area.

• How are you going to improve air quality in Bristol?

To improve air quality and health in the centre of Bristol, an Outline Business Case (OBC) has been prepared by the council. The OBC recommends the following scheme:

• Bristol becoming the first city in the UK to ban all private diesel cars from driving in a small area of the city centre

• Non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) pay a charge to enter certain areas of the city centre.

• Why did you choose this approach?

Following a lot of research into different options, our chosen approach will make the fastest improvement to air quality. This means we will meet the government’s target to reduce nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time.

• When will air quality improve to satisfactory levels?

2025. This is two years earlier than if we had chosen to go ahead with other options such as charging all non-compliant vehicles including private ones.

• What support are you getting from the government?

We have presented our Outline Business Case to government and it has been approved by Cabinet. We will submit a more detailed plan called a Full Business Case in February 2020.

We are working with the government to improve air quality as quickly as possible. The government have committed to work with us to deliver the Clean Air Zone and will also fund the project.

• Why didn’t you consult on your chosen scheme for the Outline Business Case?

We consulted on two options, which have now been merged together.

We are not consulting on our chosen approach for the Outline Business Case, because it is not greatly different from the two options we consulted on. In addition, our chosen approach is the only option that will help us to reach the satisfactory levels of air quality set out by the government in the shortest possible time.

• Will there be any further consultation before the scheme is enforced?

Yes. Prior to putting the scheme into place, we will consult with the public on the detail such as Traffic Regulation and Charging Orders.

• What further work will be needed before you submit the Full Business Case?

If the Outlined Business Case is approved by government, then we would need to decide how the scheme would work. This includes deciding what the charges would be for non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis and Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and agreeing what private vehicles could continue to drive in the entire city centre such as Blue Badge Holders. We will also complete full design and procurement processes.

• Other councils are much further ahead in developing their Clean Air Zone plans. Why has it taken Bristol so long?

Bristol will be the first city in the UK to introduce an approach that will ban all private diesel cars from a certain area and charge non-compliant vehicles to enter certain areas of the city centre.

We have taken time to make sure our approach will reach the satisfactory levels of air quality set out by the government in the shortest possible time. We’ve also wanted to make sure our approach doesn’t have a disproportionate impact on low income households and people with protected characteristics.

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