Birmingham CAZ sees city centre air quality improve in first year

Air quality in Birmingham has improved since its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) was introduced a year ago, with a significant fall in the percentage of most polluting vehicles entering the city centre.

city buildings under gray cloudy sky during daytime

This reduction in the most polluting traffic – falling from 18.7% on 1 June 2021 to 9.2% in April 2022 – has contributed to an overall reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide by 13% in the first six months of the scheme.

The CAZ applies a daily charge to the most polluting vehicles coming into the city centre, alongside financial incentives to help support the change.

Cllr Liz Clements, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: ‘This month marks the first anniversary of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone. I am pleased to say we have made good progress towards our goal of improving air quality in the city centre but we cannot rest on our laurels, so we are offering some additional support to help accelerate our journey to becoming a clean air city and to help improve the lives of everyone who lives and works in the city.’

Nearly 1 in 10 vehicles that enter the CAZ are vans – of which 79% meet the emissions standard – but their rate of compliance is below average compared to other commercial vehicles such as buses (98%) and HGVs (95%).

To help boost compliance further, SMEs based in the West Midlands who use LGVs in their fleet may be able to apply for grants of up to £4,000 per vehicle to help fund upgraded or replacement vehicles.

In addition, the council has increased the Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) grant available to Birmingham-licensed Private Hire and Hackney carriage drivers. Both groups can now apply for a grant of up to £10,000 to cover the operating expenses associated with running a ULEV. Previously, the grant available was up to £2,500 or £5,000 respectively.

In related news, the Bradford Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will go live on 26 September 2022 to help the city achieve compliance with legal limits for air quality.

Photo by iMattSmart


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