Bristol will become the UK’s first city to ban diesel vehicles, after the city council approved ‘ambitious’ plans.
Part of proposals to improve air quality, diesel vehicles will initially be restricted from entering a central area of the city between 7am and 3pm every day from March 2021.
The council’s plans also include a wider Clean Air Zone – charging buses, taxis and other vehicles that fail to meet emissions standards.
Further measures for tackling air quality include improving and prioritising public transport and the launch of a car scrappage scheme.
The proposals were approved by Bristol City Council on 5 November.
Speaking prior to approval, Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, said: “These ambitious plans demonstrate our commitment to tackling air pollution, without disproportionately affecting citizens on lower incomes which would happen with a blanket approach to charging vehicles.
“Protecting the most vulnerable people from pollution is central to these plans and we have ensured that all impacts have been carefully considered.
“If approved, mitigation measures will support those most affected, especially those living in the most deprived communities.”
RAC expresses concern over new congestion problems
Bristol City Council was one of 24 local authorities ordered by the Government to submit a plan for how it will comply with legal limits on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by March 2021.
While the RAC acknowledges Bristol faces an issue with air quality standards, it has expressed concern over the move to ban diesel vehicles, saying there could be potential problems at this ‘relatively early stage’.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “Bristol faces the same issues that many other UK cities do – a need to achieve legal compliance with air quality standards in the shortest time possible.
“Major routes into, out of, and even around the city – like Temple Way and Brunel Way – would become out of bounds, with diesel vehicles forced onto other roads, which risks causing congestion problems where they don’t exist at the moment.”