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bristol plans to ban diesel cars

Bristol is set to become the UK’s first city to ban diesel cars from entering parts of the city centre in a bid to cut air pollution.

Bristol City Council has agreed to ban privately owned diesel cars from a central zone in the daytime. Commercial vehicles will pay to enter the area.

The scheme, which needs government approval, would start in 2021.

The central ban zone, where privately owned diesel cars will be banned between 07:00 and 15:00, includes part of the M32, the old city, Redcliffe, Spike Island, the Harbourside, and part of Hotwells.

Vehicles, with the exception of taxis and emergency services, will incur fines if they stray into the area, which will be policed using number plate recognition.

A wider Clean Air Zone (CAZ) extends further away from the city centre.

Diesel powered lorries, vans, buses and taxis which pay to enter the wider clean air zone will also be allowed in the central zone.

Taxis and vans will pay a daily charge of £9 and buses and HGVs £100.

Private diesel cars will not be charged to enter the wider clean air zone. There is no mention of whether or how motorcycles will be affected.

The city council has agreed a business proposal for the idea, but details of specifics such as how much fines will be, and which categories of vehicles and people might be exempt from the ban, are yet to be decided.

Bristol City Council is under a legal obligation to reduce air pollution in the city by lowering toxic NO2 levels to within legal limits as quickly as possible.

Pete Simson, BBC Radio Bristol politics reporter, said: “It’s hard to overstate how significant a policy intervention this is.

“This is a first, no other UK city is introducing an outright diesel ban, and it will require the government to introduce new legislation.”
How is the issue being tackled in other cities?

Low emissions zones have already been debated in several other UK cities, including Birmingham, London and Leicester.

Many of these schemes involve older, more polluting diesel vehicles being banned from certain areas or vehicles having to pay to enter zones.

Similar systems exist in many European cities. In Oslo a total diesel ban can be enforced on the most polluted days.
 

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