Bristol makes moves to be first UK city to ban diesel cars

Clean Air Zone plans for the city are being mooted to arrive in March 2021

Bristol is leading the charge to axe diesel cars after announcing plans to banish polluting vehicles by March 2021.

The city has been something of an innovator when it comes to green issues as we have pointed out in the past with their own council-owned energy company and their pioneering use of poo-powered buses.

The next step is for all privately owned diesel vehicles to be forced to steer clear of the city while non-compliant commercial vehicles like buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs will be force to pay a charge.

If approved by the council’s cabinet, the plans will make Bristol the first city in the UK to take a bold step like this one. The Clean Air Zone plan will deliver “the fastest possible improvement in air quality against targets for nitrogen dioxide legal limits” say council chiefs.

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Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees reckons that the measures – along with beefing up public transport offerings – are integral to meet his pledge to reduce the reliance on cars and boosting bus usage.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

London has dipped a toe into tackling the air pollution put out by cars with the introduction of the congestion charge in 2003 but took matters a step further with a London Car Free Day on September 22.

But Bristol City Council’s cabinet will meet on November 5 to decide whether to approve the plans, following a city-wide public consultation, before the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit will run the rule over the plans if approved.