Bristol May Become The First City In The UK To Ban Diesel Cars

Bristol May Become The First City In The UK To Ban Diesel Cars

Bristol May Become The First City In The UK To Ban Diesel Cars

Bristol could become the first city in the UK to introduce a ban on diesel cars. The measure is being considered to improve the city’s air quality…

Bristol Versus Diesel 

Bristol could make history in the UK by introducing a ban on diesel vehicles. The measure, which is designed to improve air quality, could bar the vehicles from the city centre between 7am and 3pm every day. The proposal is one of many being considered by Bristol city council. In addition to the ban, a broader charging zone for commercial vehicles is being considered. This could be implemented in early 2021 and would affect the likes of taxis, buses, vans and lorries. But diesel drivers aren’t being left out in the cold. A scrappage scheme is planned to help them purchase a cleaner alternative.

Fears concerning diesel-related emissions have emerged following Volkswagen’s infamous ‘Dieselgate’ scandal. This saw millions of vehicles cheat emissions tests and 1.2 million of them reached the UK. Bristol city council is one of 24 authorities charged by the government to submit plans to comply with legal NO2 limits. The current government has advised authorities to consider all options before implementing charging areas.

‘Ambitious’ Plans 

Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, has emphasised the city’s ambitions. He said, “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 added, “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”. The council’s cabinet will meet to approve the plans on November 5th.

Katie Nield, a lawyer with the green legal group ClientEarth, has welcomed the council’s direction but criticised the plans for not going far enough. She said, “bristol city council is finally responding to residents’ pollution worries and looking to strengthen its proposals, but while these new plans represent a step in the right direction, they once again stop short of ridding the city of its illegally toxic air with the necessary urgency.” According to statistics compiled by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, diesel sales are declining rapidly. During the first nine months of the year diesels held 25.8% of the new car market. That’s compared to 31.7% during the same period in the previous year.

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