PLANS for a Clean Air Zone to help tackle the problem of air pollution in Birmingham have received Government approval.
It means that commuters, businesses and visitors from Redditch and surrounding areas at the wheel of high polluting vehicles will have to pay an £8 charge to enter the city centre after any exemption period has expired.
It will apply to drivers of diesels manufactured before 2015 and petrol cars made before 2006, so is not a congestion charge on the London model.
The second city’s council submitted its full business case in February after being required by the Government to achieve compliant air quality limits in the shortest possible time – January 2020.
Now the authority’s plans for a Clean Air Zone and a package of additional measures have been given the green light.
The Government has also allocated £14.2million for the delivery of signs, cameras and other infrastructure, and £38m to support a package of mitigation measures to support businesses and people likely to be affected by the Clean Air Zone.
The council is offering a range of exemptions to allow eligible businesses and individuals more time to make the switch to compliant vehicles.
The news comes after new research showed in 2015 64,000 people died in the UK as a result of air pollution while globally air pollution is reportedly responsible for more deaths than smoking.
Exemptions from the Clean Air Zone charge include people travelling into the Clean Air Zone for work – exempt for one year.
Visitors to key hospitals, GP offices and care homes within the Clean Air Zone – duration of stay, with exemption running for one year.
Vans and minibuses registered as providing essential community and school transport services that are classified as section 19 operators, registered for operation in Birmingham – exempt for all years.
Vehicles registered with disabled tax class – exempted for the duration of the Clean Air Zone.