Cities are breathing easier after clean air zone success

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Clean air zones in cities have proved a great success and should be introduced across the UK, says Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.

He was commenting on a report this month that levels of the dangerous pollutant nitrogen dioxide have fallen by 14 per cent in Bath.

There’s a similar story in Birmingham where pollution is down by almost 20 per cent in in some hotspots. 

And in London the scheme has proved so successful that the zone has been expanded from the central area up to, but not including, the North Circular and South Circular roads. This new area is 18 times the size of the original one and now covers 3.8 million people. 

“This proves it is the most effective way of reducing the harmful levels of toxic air that people are breathing in,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire. “The government should now introduce a new Clean Air Act adopting tighter limits based on the World Health Organisation recommendations as a matter of urgency

“Also, there are many health benefits as nitrogen dioxide can lead to the early deaths of thousands of people every year by exacerbating breathing conditions, such as asthma, and causing a greater risk of heart disease, strokes and depression.”

Other cities have been criticised for not implementing Clean Air Zones quickly enough. Already Oxford has announced it will launch its scheme in February, 2022), Manchester and Edinburgh (both May 2022), Bristol (summer 2022) and Glasgow (June 2023).

Bath was the first place outside London to impose charges in March this year on high-emission commercial vans and taxis of £9 each and HGVs and buses £100 to enter the city.

In Birmingham drivers of petrol and diesel cars, which fail to meet certain emissions standards, must pay £8 each day to enter the city centre under the scheme, introduced in June this year, while for HGVs and coaches it’s £50.  

Charges apply only to pre-2016 diesels and petrol cars registered before 2006 which are driving inside the A4540 Middleway ring road, although the circular route itself is not included.

Number plate recognition cameras record the details of every vehicle 24 hours a day, seven days a week and drivers have to pay online or by a dedicated phone number.

Those who do not pay within six days face a £120 fine, which will be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

But there are exemptions, including those who live and work inside the zone, hospital visitors, drivers of emergency, recovery and military vehicles, plus school buses and classic cars. 

For more details visit  https://www.birmingham.gov.uk 

For those motorists worried whether they will have to pay the charge go to the Department of Transport online at https://www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones

But it’s not just the cities cutting down on pollution, people can do the same in their homes, said Ron. For more details, call him on 0845 474 6641. 

Caption: Clean air zone schemes to put the brakes on the number of cars entering city centres have proved a big success.

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