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
Felix Page Autocar writer
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. 

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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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Comments
32

30 October 2019

Perhaps some drastic changes are needed like this all over the place to get our air quality to an acceptable level. My work (which has an office in Bristol, I live north of the border) have for the first time got hybrids on the company car list. My diesel Golf is most likely going to change to a Corolla in the next few months

30 October 2019

Its a very good idea to lower NOx emmissions in city areas but do it properly. I have 3 'cars' that are all currently exempt from the London ulez but one would be banned from Bristol. One is a 2019 Ford with a euro 6.2 deisel engine (would be banned) , another a 2001 turbo petrol Volvo (exempt from London ulez but I really have no idea why) and the other a 1970 6.6litre V8 pick up (exempt due to age) now guess which one emmits the least NOx.

30 October 2019

A modern Urea SCRF system will provide noxious exhaust emissions lower than most petrol cars on the road, so Marvin want to pay out other peoples' money to scrap them?   What a turnip.  And if the diesels were being used on a longer commute into the city centre, the CO2 emissions of the diesel car would be lower than the petrol car.  Clearly Marvin is one of the triumphs of our dumbed-down education system, where he'll want to have a nice emotive fact-free conversation about dirty diesels...  If I lived in Bristol, I'd want him out, and fast, because dim and in power is a dangerous combination.

30 October 2019

If you really want to reduce emissions, the bans should reflect the London system where old petrol and pre Euro 6 diesels are banned.  Look at the technology advances, not the fuel.

30 October 2019

I fear ( and hope ) this report doesn't give the whole story. As per the examples above, a modern diesel is less harm to the environment than an older petrol. Or even some brand new petrol's still on sale.

It should also be noted the text mentions a ban on 'private' vehicles. A private vehicle doesn't even register on the radar when compared to a diesel commercial vehicle.

If the article is accurate, then the proposal will have little or no impact on the environment whatsoever.

6 November 2019
scotty5 wrote:

I fear ( and hope ) this report doesn't give the whole story. As per the examples above, a modern diesel is less harm to the environment than an older petrol. Or even some brand new petrol's still on sale.

It should also be noted the text mentions a ban on 'private' vehicles. A private vehicle doesn't even register on the radar when compared to a diesel commercial vehicle.

If the article is accurate, then the proposal will have little or no impact on the environment whatsoever.

 

Exactly.. Its just another scam on the motorist.

30 October 2019

I live in London and on the busiest days in the worst traffic I have never seen the amount of visible pollution shown in your photo. Was it taken in California in close proximity to a Wildfire perhaps.

1 November 2019
Leslie Brook wrote:

I live in London and on the busiest days in the worst traffic I have never seen the amount of visible pollution shown in your photo. Was it taken in California in close proximity to a Wildfire perhaps.

The smoke you see is mostly water vapor that has condensed into tiny droplets. The photo has probably been taken on a cold morning. The colder it is, the easier it is for the water  vapor to condense. Exhaust gases contain a lot of water vapor. Most air pollutants are gases and most gases are invisible. So, it's not what you see that you should be worried about, but what you can't see!

 

6 November 2019
Leslie Brook wrote:

I live in London and on the busiest days in the worst traffic I have never seen the amount of visible pollution shown in your photo. Was it taken in California in close proximity to a Wildfire perhaps.

I worked in London and yes I have seen scenes like this - trying to enjoy a luchtime pint outside in the summer sun in Holborn / Tettenham Ct Road area of town. Mind you it was all coming from lorries, vans, buses ( near empty I may add ) and taxis. I do not recall ever seeing smoke like that from cars.

They need to ban commercial vehicles if they care about the environment.

30 October 2019

Why discriminate against diesel cars when you can just set a NOx limit for all cars. That way if some technology comes out which reduces NOx from diesel, it won't be missed out on by the people of Bristol. These presprictive regulations are a blunt instrument that force manufacturers onto a chosen technology, which in the end, might not be the best approach.

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