Bristol City Council is consulting on proposals to introduce the UK’s first no-diesel zone by 2021 as part of a drive to improve air quality in the area.
The so-called Clean Air Zone has been devised as a means of delivering “the fastest possible improvement in air quality against targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits”, according to the council.
If implemented, the measures would see privately owned diesel vehicles banned from entering a designated section of the city centre between 7am and 3pm every day.
A wider charging zone would be in constant operation for high-emission commercial vehicles, including buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs, with suggested costs yet to be announced.
A diesel vehicle scrappage scheme would launch at the same time, to encourage Bristol drivers to swap into less polluting cars.
The announcement comes two years after Bristol City Council was ordered by the government to produce a plan for bringing the area’s NO2 levels to within legal limits.
It has been suggested that the Clean Air Zone could bring emissions down to a legal level by 2025.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “These ambitious plans demonstrate our commitment to tackling air pollution so we meet legal limits within the shortest time, without disproportionally affecting citizens on lower incomes which would happen with a blanket approach to charging vehicles.
“Protecting the most vulnerable people from pollution is central to these plans and we have ensured that all impacts have been carefully considered. If approved, mitigation measures will support those most affected, especially those living in the most deprived communities.”
The predicted cost of implementation of the scheme totals £113.5 million, with comprehensive upgrades to the city’s ANPR network, road marking and signage necessary to its successful operation.
The proposals will be fully detailed and debated at a meeting of Bristol City Council’s cabinet on 5 November. The final business case is due to be submitted to government in February next year.