• February 5, 2020

  • Abby Nuttall

As we all become increasingly aware of climate change and the impact our cities are having globally it’s little surprise that across the UK councils are looking at ways to reduce emissions in their city centres.

In the last month alone we have seen Oxford consulting on their Zero Emission City Centre Zone, Bath be approved for their Clean Air Zone (CAZ), and Nottingham consulting on their carbon action plan. The London Mayor has also announced plans to increase his van scrappage scheme, to help businesses visiting the Capital when the Ultra-Low Emission Zone is expanded next year.

Bath, Nottingham and Cardiff are the latest cities to put forward plans to reduce emissions. Take a look below to find out the latest on their plans.

Bath’s Clean Air Zone

After significant consultation with the public, the council decided on a Clean Air Zone rather than one of the alternative options. The plans have now been approved by the council’s cabinet with a launch date of the 4th of November.

HGVs, buses and coaches that travel in the city will be charge £100 per day, and taxis, minibuses and vans will be charge £9 daily. The council have advised that private cars and motorbikes will not be charged in the zone.

Bath and North East Somerset Council are also working to support local businesses with the change. This includes financial support, with grants and interest-free finance so they can upgrade to compliant vehicles and avoid the daily charges.

They are currently inviting tenders from FCA registered finance companies to administer their financial assistance scheme.

For more information on Bath’s CAZ area please visit Bath and North East Somerset Council’s website.

Nottingham’s Carbon Action Plan

Nottingham wants to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city and plans to achieve this by 2028.

They have developed a Carbon Action Plan which is focused on decarbonising electricity, and is currently on track to generate 20% of the city’s energy demand through low and zero carbon sources by 2020, and decarbonising transport, by changing the current petrol and diesel vehicles in the city centre to ultra-low emission vehicles.

The plan is open to public consultation until the 15th of March and you can have your say here.

Cardiff’s Congestion Charge

Cardiff is looking at introducing a congestion charge across the city as part of their 10-year plan to tackle climate change and the city’s impact on this.

A charge of £2 per vehicle is expected to be introduced by 2024, however the council is still deciding on the boundaries for the area this will cover.

You can see all the options the council is considering for their 10-year plan, including a city Metro system, smart roads and a rapid bus network, by looking at their Transport White Paper.

CAZ Portal

With more cities looking at a low emission zone or CAZ areas the Government’s joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) has established a national CAZ portal.

This portal is designed for drivers to check their vehicles and make payments for any CAZ across England and Wales on one system.

Currently in the testing phase the portal is due to go live in Birmingham and Leed’s CAZs in July of this year once the two zones have been established.

There has been some criticism of the portal as it is only designed for CAZs in England and Wales and will not be used for other congestion charges or low emission zones. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has also criticised the fact that instead of using an autopay facility, like London’s congestion charge, drivers will have to make a manual payment. The JAQU have opted for a manual system rather than an automated one to try and discourage drivers from entering the CAZ areas and to make it easier drivers can make the payment seven days before and up to six days after the zone.

BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney said: “We welcome a centralised mechanism for paying Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charges, but this lack of an autopay function will place a huge burden on fleet operators as more schemes are launched through 2020 and into 2021”.

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