Clean Air Zones – second council consultation

Bristol Council has conducted a second public consultation on its clean air plan because its proposals have changed again. The consultation is part of a project that started in 2016/17 that has been slow to reach a conclusion. This consultation in late 2020 follows a previous consultation in summer 2019, which also consulted on possible Clean Air Zones. The plan is that the final decision on the scheme will become public by February 2021 at the latest, and the scheme implemented by October 2021.

In the latest consultation, the diesel car ban is no longer proposed, and the Council hopes to demonstrate that recent city centre street space reallocation, and the resulting reduction in motor traffic at pollution hotspots, will achieve compliance with air pollution limits without the need for a charging Traffic Clean Air Zone. If the Council fails in that aim, it will introduce either a single inner area charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ D, including cars), or both inner area and medium area zones (CAZ D and CAZ C).

The Society has submitted a response to the consultation, jointly with other organisations. The main points are:

  • We support in principle the idea of achieving good air quality by road space reallocation and behaviour change, but it seems likely that there will not be enough time before the government’s deadline to demonstrate the effectiveness of the recent street space reallocation measures, and therefore the government will require the Council to implement a Clean Air Zone.
  • Decisions need to be taken in a wider context and with broader objectives, including cost and fairness, rather than just technical compliance. On balance, we prefer the stronger (CAZ C + CAZ D) option.
  • It needs to be clear that the CAZ will remain until the objective is proven to have been met, even if that is not 2023 as projected. The CAZ delivery plan should include reviews of measured data and a commitment to strengthen measures if the modelled reductions are not achieved.
  • The implementation of a CAZ has a visual impact on the streetscape. The overall impact of the following needs to be considered: the specific location of cameras and choice of technology, the size of informative signage and its location, the extent of road markings, the choice of surface treatment.

The consultation is here.

Use this link for the full BCS response.

More information at https://www.cleanairforbristol.org/.

Alan Morris

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