Birmingham Clean Air Zone to set nationwide example
Thursday 14 March 2019
Birmingham City Council has listened to the needs of the logistics sector and developed a Clean Air Zone plan which will improve air quality in the city without costing the livelihoods of local and small businesses, according to FTA. Reacting to the news this week that the scheme has been approved, FTA is pleased the Council has recognised the financial burden that immediate fleet upgrades would place upon businesses within its plan, by granting a one-year exemption.
Chris Yarsley, Policy Manager for the Midlands at FTA, the business organisation representing the interests of the logistics sector, commented: “Birmingham City Council has bucked the trend set by other cities across the country to produce an air quality plan that protects the health of both its citizens as well as that of the local economy. Following a succession of disastrous CAZ proposals in cities including Bath, Leeds and Manchester, which all failed to consider the needs of local and small business, FTA is pleased Birmingham City Council has taken FTA’s advice on board when formulating its plans. By granting a one-year exemption for commercial vehicles currently registered within the Zone or those registered in the wider Birmingham area (exact parameters to be confirmed) which have an existing finance agreement beyond 2020, it recognises the financial burden that prematurely upgrading vehicles places upon local or small businesses.
“FTA is also pleased that the Council has refrained from placing the responsibility for improving air quality solely on the shoulders of businesses, when drivers of all types of vehicles – for both private and commercial use – must play their part; it is refreshing to see private cars also included in the Zone.”
The Zone, due to come into effect from January 2020, will cover all roads within the A4540 Middleway ring road. Vehicles not meeting nationally-set engine emissions standards will be charged to enter this area, with non-compliant private cars, taxis and vans charged £8 per day and non-compliant HGVs, coaches and buses charged £50 per day to enter.
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.