Bristol’s Clean Air Zone

A major source of air pollution in cities is road traffic, particularly diesel engines. Air pollution affects everyone in Bristol, especially children, older people and those with heart, breathing and underlying health conditions.

Toxic air pollution contributes to 300 deaths a year in Bristol . The council has a legal and moral duty to reduce pollution in the shortest possible time. The government has directed Bristol and other cities to do this through a Clean Air Zone.

How the zone will work

A Clean Air Zone will help improve air quality by reducing harmful levels of air pollution caused by traffic. It will also help us make sure everyone in Bristol benefits from a healthy and natural environment.

A daily charge will apply to older and more polluting vehicles driving in the Clean Air Zone. This will be reinvested back into the local community, supporting individuals and businesses to switch to cleaner vehicles, ongoing work to make it easier to walk and cycle, and the introduction of green public transport.

We estimate our chosen Clean Air Zone will deliver compliance with legal limits for air pollution by 2023, much sooner than previous proposals.

We recently submitted the Full Business Case for the Clean Air Zone to government for their approval. The final plans are currently being reviewed by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit. The earliest we would implement the zone is October 2021.

How the zone has been designed

We’ve designed the size of the zone and its boundary so we can meet air quality targets in the central area where air quality is worst in the shortest possible time. The Portway and the Cumberland Basin are in the zone because they are main routes into the city. Removing the Portway and the Cumberland Basin from the zone would affect how quickly air quality falls to within legal limits.

The zone is intended to encourage drivers and businesses to either update their vehicles, change their route, change their mode, or not make the trip.

Further information