Following meetings with Rebecca Pow MP, the under-secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs and Rachel Maclean MP the under-secretary of state for transport, it has been confirmed that the government-mandated Clean Air Zone for Birmingham is now scheduled to launch on 1 June 2021.
Poor air quality remains the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK and investing in cleaner air and doing more to tackle air pollution are priorities for the government and local authorities. Clean Air Zones aim to address all sources of pollution, including nitrogen dioxide and reduce public exposure by using a range of measures tailored to a specific location.
Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone will cover an area of the city inside the inner ring road (A4540 Middleway) and once live will mean that the owners of the most polluting vehicles, which account for around 25% of the vehicles on Birmingham’s roads, will need to pay a daily charge to drive into or through the Clean Air Zone.
The Council is providing a range of exemptions and financial incentives, with a total value of c. £35m, to help residents, city centre workers and businesses prepare for the introduction of the Clean Air Zone. Applications and expressions of interest for all of these schemes are now open with more information available at the website: BrumBreathes.co.uk.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council said:
“We have been working closely with officials at the Joint Air Quality Unit and ministers to agree a new launch date for the government-mandated Clean Air Zone.
“Poor air quality remains a public health risk and a Clean Air Zone provides the city with an effective tool for tackling this issue in the shortest possible time.
“The majority of drivers on Birmingham’s roads will not need to pay the daily charge but if you do then you may be eligible for an exemption or one of the financial incentives. So, I would encourage everyone to check the Brum Breathes website today. And everyone can still play a role in improving the air we all breathe by trying to reduce the number of shorter journeys we make by car every day.”
Notes to editors
- In 2017 Birmingham City Council, alongside four other local authorities, was directed by the secretary of state to prepare and submit a full business case setting out its plans for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide. The full business case had to set out plans for achieving compliance with the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time. This full business case was approved by the government in 2019
- Vehicles that meet the emission standards for the Clean Air Zone will not be required to pay the daily charge:
- Euro 6 (VI) or better for diesel engine
- Euro 4 or better for petrol engines
- Charges for the zone will apply 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year with drivers being charged per day (midnight to midnight).
- A range of exemptions and additional incentives will be on offer to support those directly affected. These include the following options, which are all on the basis of ownership of a vehicle that does not meet the emission standard for the Clean Air Zone:
- Residents living within the zone may be eligible for an exemption permit of up to two years.
- Employees travelling to a registered place of work in the zone, earning less than £30,000 may be able to apply for an exemption permit of up to 12 months
- This group of people may also be eligible for a scrappage and mobility scheme. People applying to this scheme will need to scrap a vehicle that does not meet the emission standards for the Clean Air Zone. When they do they will have the option of receiving £2,000 which can used to purchase a vehicle that does meet the emission standard or purchase a ‘mobility’ credit for use on the region’s public transport network
- Birmingham-licensed taxi drivers can apply for funding support towards a retrofit solution, operating costs or upgrade of an existing vehicle
- Small and medium sized businesses operating coaches or HGVs will be able to apply to a Heavy Duty Vehicle fund which will be used to support the purchase or lease of replacement vehicles, purchase of retrofit solutions or a contribution towards relocation costs.
- Eligibility criteria apply to all of these schemes and more information is available at the dedicated website: brumbreathes.co.uk