First clean air zones for 2019 as part of air quality plan

Birmingham will get one of the first clean air zones

The government has confirmed that the first five clean air zones (CAZs) will be in place by the end of 2019.

Its long-awaited – and controversial – plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations was published today, with its headline promise being a UK-wide ban on diesel cars and vans by 2040.

However, within the report is confirmation that Birmingham (pictured), Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton will be expected to push ahead with previous proposals to introduce CAZs.

The local authorities are expected to publish their initial plans within eight months and finalise them by December 2018, ready for implementation.

Once in play, any trucks or diesel vans not meeting the Euro-6 standard will be required to pay a penalty charge to enter the designated CAZ.

In Southampton this has been proposed as £200.

The government plans puts the onus on local authorities to tackle air pollution, although a national framework document for doing so is planned.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has also drawn up a list of the 29 worst-offending areas. One is London, which with its ULEZ plans is effectively excluded from these measures.

It expects to take action to achieve statutory NO2 levels “within the shortest possible time” using a range of measures up to a chargeable CAZ.

Areas on the priority list include Coventry, Manchester, Bath, Bristol, Sheffield, Guildford and North Tyneside.

Research has suggested that CAZs will affect smaller fleets the most.