The Bristol City Council has proposed a ban for all diesel vehicles from their city centre, as well as a new congestion charge zone for older commercial vehicles by 2021. This would make the city the first in the UK with an outright ban on diesel.
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The two plans are not linked, and still considered only an option as the city seeks ways to curb emissions. A combination of the programs, which also include a scrappage scheme to help vehicle owners replace their old vehicles, may also go into effect. At the moment, the diesel-ban would only affect the city centre, and private passenger cars would also be exempt from the more extensive congestion charge.
A primary concern for politicians behind the proposal is the desire to make electrification an inclusive process. As Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, puts it: “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.”
If the measure is approved, it will be submitted to the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) on the sixth of November, where it will then be prepared for the “Full Business Case” submission in February of next year. This would then actually implement the measures, providing direct engagement to businesses and residents to help with implementation. The cost for said implementation is expected to run around £113.5 million, including infrastructure upgrades. Bristol envisions the diesel-ban to take effect in 2021.
Update 06 November 2019: The city was quick to act. Not even a week after the proposal, the diesel ban in Bristol has moved a step closer to reality after the cabinet approved the plan. The local authority is proposing a diesel vehicle ban combined with a clean air zone charge as well as scrapping scheme as part of a “bold approach” to tackle air quality. If the government ultimately accepts these plans, the changes will take effect in March 2021.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.
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