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Birmingham Clean Air Zone postponed until 2021

Published: 28th Apr 2020

The launch of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone has been postponed until 2021 following the impact of Covid-19.

The launch of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone has been postponed until 2021 following the impact of Covid-19.

Representatives from Birmingham City Council wrote a submission to Government to request a variation to the Ministerial Direction by delaying the launch of the zone, which was subsequently approved.

It means the launch of the zone has now been postponed from summer 2020 until at least 1 January 2021, although an exact date has yet to be decided.

In his letter to Government, Cllr Waseem Zaffar, the council’s cabinet member for Transport and the Environment, recognised the “profound impact” that COVID-19 has had on the city’s economy and preparations for the launch of the zone.

“Businesses are focussed on trying to support their employees through an extraordinary situation rather than upgrade their vehicle fleets,” wrote Cllr Zaffar.

“Low income workers and residents are focussed on ensuring they and their families stay safe rather than apply for an exemption or financial incentive.”

The letter also referenced the impact that COVID-19 has had on partner agencies supporting Birmingham in delivering the zone, which include the installation of cameras and technology to identify non-compliant vehicles.

Cllr Zaffar said: “We still remain committed to the Clean Air Zone and improving air quality in Birmingham but must adapt to the current situation that COVID-19 has created and respond to the crisis accordingly. Work is ongoing within the team and we are preparing to launch our support package for taxi and private hire drivers imminently.

“However what lockdown has demonstrated is that a reduction in traffic across the country – and even globe – as cities go into lockdown, has demonstrated significant improvements in air quality which we hope may inspire behaviour change once we begin to move out of lockdown.”

Residents and workers who qualify for temporary exemption permits can still apply online. Exemption permits will be applicable from the new launch date of the Clean Air Zone.