Currently reading: Bristol City Council approves first UK ban for diesel cars
Privately-owned diesel vehicles will be banned between 7am and 3pm in a central zone of Bristol, with vans, buses and HGVs set to pay to enter
2 mins read
6 November 2019

Bristol City Council has approved plans for Britain's first no-diesel zone in the city centre as part of a drive to improve air quality in the area.

The so-called Clean Air Zone, to be implemented in 2021, 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. 

The measures will 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, with vans and taxis facing a £9 fee and buses and HGVs facing a £100 fee for entering it. 

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 help to achieve this by 2025.  The proposal still needs government approval, however.

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.”

Nicholas Lyes, head of policy at the RAC, said the planned restrictions could have an adverse affect on roads elsewhere: "Major routes into, out of, and even around the city – like Temple Way and Brunel Way – would become out of bounds, with diesel vehicles forced onto other roads, which risks causing congestion problems where they don’t exist at the moment." He also called attention to the fact that "drivers of diesel cars who are locked into finance packages may face a significant penalty to exit their contract early", and suggested that drivers of older vehicles could be forced into upgrading at significant cost. 

SMMT boss Mike Hawes echoed the RAC's concerns, adding that "this proposed blanket ban, which goes against government’s guidelines, fails to distinguish between modern vehicles and decades-old technologies and will only cause confusion for drivers while also undermining efforts to boost air quality". 

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 final business case is due to be submitted to government in February next year. 

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Biter 6 November 2019

Big impact on manufacturing.

Bristol has some large manufacturing businesses within this zone. These charges will be passed onto their end customers making them less competitive in future.

typos1 6 November 2019

Interesting timing - its

Interesting timing - its national pollute the air week (otherwise known as bonfire night), I wonder how many thousands of bonfires have been lit in Bristol over this period ? Bonfires have zero emissions equipment and produce many, many more particulates, NOx and lots of other pollutants than diesel engines, yet you can light as many as you like and take yours kids to look at them and breathe in all their emissions, you couldnt make this sort of hypocrisy up, it doesnt make any sense. Euro 6d diesels should be allowed into the city, as should any diesel car whos owner has retro fitted upgraded emissions equipment, a national incentive scheme should be launched to encourage owners to upgrade the emissions equipment of older diesels and scrappage schemes should be banned - they produce more pollution because more cars have to be built to replace the cars that were scrapped and making cars produces lots of pollution.

jameshobiecat 6 November 2019

I agree that modern diesels

I agree that modern diesels with urea injection systems are clean and should not be banned but I think the problem is that smaller diesel engines can seek under the euro 6 NOx limits without urea but they then emit a bucket load of the stuff under hard acceleration; Iirc independent tests showed a 1.5 clio dci emits about x20 the NOx of a current 3.0 land rover discovery in real world use.