Clean air is something we all have a right to. It shouldn’t be a luxury that’s dependent on who we are or where we live. To make Bristol the fair, healthy and sustainable city we want it to be, we have a moral and environmental need to improve air quality for everyone. We also have a legal duty to reduce air pollution in Bristol to the legal levels set by government in the shortest possible time.
To help do this, we have assessed all the options that will improve our air quality and its impact on public health and are introducing a Clean Air Zone later this summer.
Bristol’s zone covers a small central area including two major routes into the city centre via the Portway and the Cumberland Basin. The size of the zone and its boundary have been designed to meet air quality targets in the central area where air quality is poorest.
We have also secured from government a significant funding package of £42 million, more than other cities, to help people on low incomes and small businesses switch to cleaner vehicles.
Our zone and its accompanying support measures have been designed to help us reduce pollution as quickly as possible whilst having the least impact on low-income households and small businesses. It is not a congestion charge and most vehicles won’t have to pay as 71 per cent travelling into the city already meet the zone’s emission standards.
As well as reducing harmful pollution in the central area, the zone will also have an overall citywide benefit. With more people across Bristol upgrading to less polluting vehicles, air quality will also improve outside the zone.
Clean Air Zones work. Initial findings released by Birmingham earlier this month show their zone has improved air quality by reducing the number of polluting vehicles travelling into Birmingham’s central area. The city has also reported that the zone doesn’t appear to have increased traffic outside the zone and that it is on track to reduce harmful pollution from traffic to legal limits.
How you can prepare
It’s easy to check if your vehicle is compliant. Just visit the government’s Clean Air Zone vehicle checker and type in your registration number.
Financial support is also available for people on low incomes and small Bristol-based businesses to replace vehicles that don’t meet the zone’s emission standards. You don’t need to buy a new or electric car to meet the zone’s emission standards as the loans and grants can be used to buy a second-hand car.