Air quality plan wants local authorities to find alternatives to charging zones

Air pollution over London

The government has published a draft plan to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK.

Will I have to pay to enter clean air zones?

Alternatively, it could be targeted at vehicles from a specific sector, particular areas or individuals.

Greenpeace UK's Doug Parr said: "A plan to help drivers swap polluting diesel for electric cars would be a good idea but the Government's proposal lacks scale and detail".

The Government has confirmed its view that significant blame for the air quality problem lies with diesel cars.

It has not revised its own air quality strategy, Cleaner Air for Scotland, and key parts of that strategy are now over a year behind schedule, camapigners say.

Charges for entering Clean Air Zones will not be mandatory but certain guidelines have been set to determine who and what vehicles it could affect.

While there is mention of grants that will eventually benefit some drivers in certain areas, a plan to boost local authority funding in order to redesign roads and improve infrastructure seems to have been prioritised.

But the Tories ruled out "hitting motorists in the pocket" by imposing charging zones and increased parking charges.

That being said, the government is yet to commit to such an initiative, and it is unlikely that a decision will be made until after the general election in June, when the consultation period for the proposed plans ends.




Government plans to improve air quality in the United Kingdom are being condemned as weak, feeble and half-baked.

While many parts of the country are breaching emissions limits, the report says that Greater London now has the dirtiest air in the United Kingdom, and that reducing emissions in the areas is "the most challenging" aspect of the plan.

Lucas said the government has been a "catastrophic failure" when it comes to air pollution.

Air pollution is linked to an estimated 40,000 early deaths a year.

The technical report puts the cost of a scheme at £60 billion, based on scrapping all pre-Euro 6 diesel cars and vans in the United Kingdom in 2019 (8 million cars and 2 million vans, with grant levels of £6,000 and £6,500 respectively). "The plan looks much weaker than we had hoped for", said Thornton.

The issue of air pollution in the United Kingdom has been topical for years as environmental groups, such as ClientEarth, demanded the government work out and publish its plan to tackle the problem.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has already urged the Government to reintroduce a scrappage scheme in London for older diesel vehicles only.

The government breaks down clean air zones into two categories in the plan: non-charging clean air zones and charging clean air zones.

He said the best way to protect people from toxic fumes is to ensure Clean Air Zones are put in place in every location where high levels of pollution are recorded and implement a proper diesel scrappage scheme. However, it said councils should only introduce charging for the most polluting cars if there are no cheaper alternatives. "We have a national health emergency, and the Government is kicking the issue into the long grass", said Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake.

Stephen Joseph, chief executive at the Campaign for Better Transport, said: 'While we welcome the government's long awaited plan, its proposals on transport are wholly inadequate in tackling the unsafe levels of pollution across our most polluted cities.

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