On Monday 8 April 2019, London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was started to cover central London. From 25 October 2021, this will be extended to within the North and South Circular Roads.
Currently, any petrol or diesel vehicle driven within central London must meet new tighter emissions standards or pay a daily charge. Non compliant vehicles must pay £12.50 for entering the area each day, in addition to the congestion charge.
From January 2020, Drivers within Birmingham of high polluting cars are set to pay £8 to travel into Birmingham. Birmingham City Council has faced pressure from the government to reduce pollution by setting up a clean air zone.
But how will it work and how will it affect you?
Proposals put forward are a penalty for vehicles with high nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, so there wouldn’t be a congestion charge with a blanket tariff on everyone going into the zone. Paying would only apply to non-compliant vehicles – diesels manufactured before 2015 and petrol cars made before 2006.
How much will it cost and who is exempt?
The proposed charges for high-polluting vehicles are £8 for cars and £50 for buses and HGVs driving in central Birmingham. However, there will be some exemptions and charges will not be applied.
See if my car is exempt?
Use this simple tool to check whether your vehicle meets LEZ (London) emissions standards (Birmingham Yet To Be Announced).
How do I pay the clean air charge?
Vehicles entering the area inside the ring road will be picked up by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, so there won’t be any barriers. For those who do incur charges, these will be payable online. And if you don’t pay up, the fine can be £120 !!!! However, people will not pay for vehicles below the emissions standard if they are parked within the zone all day but are not turned on.
Will there be any support for those set to be severely penalised by the charge?
The council has secured £15m to help taxi drivers upgrade to newer, cleaner vehicles. It comes amid go-slow protests in Birmingham from the trade who argue the clean air zone is a threat to their livelihood.
Why is the council doing this?
Air pollution is widely regarded as a public health crisis in Birmingham that causes 900 premature deaths a year in the city. The council has stated because of the ministerial direction it had received, it was “impossible” to introduce a zone without charges. It faces a fine of up to £60m if it fails to implement the zone in time. For Birmingham and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) there is much to learn from London & the problems they have faced.
Hopefully Birmingham will take some tips from the implementation of London, however are these charges all too little too late for the environment ?
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