Clean Air Zone sees city centre air quality improve in its first year
Air quality in central Birmingham has improved since the Clean Air Zone was implemented a year ago and has seen a significant fall in the percentage of most polluting vehicles entering the city centre
This reduction in the most polluting traffic – falling from 18.7 per cent on 1 June 2021 to 9.2 per cent in April 2022 – has contributed to an overall reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide by 13 per cent in the first six months of the scheme.
The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) aims to change driver behaviour by applying a daily charge to the most polluting vehicles coming into the city centre. The scheme also provides some short-term and permanent exemptions from the daily charge alongside a number of financial incentives to help support this change.
Cllr Liz Clements, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
"This month marks the first anniversary of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone. I am pleased to say we have made good progress towards our goal of improving air quality in the city centre but we cannot rest on our laurels, so we are offering some additional support to help accelerate our journey to becoming a clean air city and to help improve the lives of everyone who lives and works in the city."
Nearly 1 in 10 (nine per cent) of all vehicles that enter the CAZ are vans – of which 79 per cent meet the emissions standard, but this rate of compliance is below average compared to other commercial vehicles such as buses (98 per cent) and HGVs (95 per cent)
To help boost compliance further, SMEs based in the West Midlands who use LGVs in their fleet may be able to apply for grants of up to £4,000 per vehicle to help fund upgraded or replacement vehicles.
In addition, the council has increased the Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) grant available to Birmingham-licensed Private Hire and Hackney carriage drivers. Both groups can now apply for a grant of up to £10,000 to cover the operating expenses associated with running a ULEV. Previously, the grant available was up to £2,500 or £5,000 respectively.
This is an effort to encourage more drivers to adopt ULEVs when upgrading or replacing a vehicle that does not meet the emission standard of the Clean Air Zone.