The Department for Environment’s decision to exempt cars from proposed Clean Air Zones in five English cities has been described by the FTA as a ‘missed opportunity’. The trade association said that they were “disappointed,” and that an opportunity to significantly improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions has been wasted.
Birmingham, Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham and Derby will all have Clean Air Zones, where they are expected to reduce nitrogen dioxide concentrations by 2020 – but cars will not be affected. In Leeds and Birmingham the zones will focus on HGVs, light goods vehicles, buses, coaches and taxis.
In the other three cities, only HGVs, buses, coaches and taxis will be included.
“Everyone has to play their part to help improve air quality but rather than sharing the burden of meeting air quality targets, the Government has firmly rested the responsibility on other modes including freight which access cities to deliver the goods and services to keep our economy moving,” said Rachael Dillon, FTA’s climate change policy manager.
“FTA recognises the urgent need for the UK to meet EU air quality targets and to improve local air quality for residents. We also recognise that the freight sector must contribute. But to fail to include cars – a major source of pollutants – in such plans is baffling. We would urge DEFRA to rethink. If we are to meet air quality targets, surely all road transport must be covered? The Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London from 2020 will include cars.”