With nitrogen dioxide levels failing by a third in London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone since its inception in October 2017, Bristol is the next city to seriously look at reducing harmful pollutants from vehicles within city boundaries.
But unlike the London scheme, Bristol City Council is looking to introduce a total ban on diesel vehicles entering the zone between 07:00 and 15:00. The scheme is also reported to be widening the net to also include buses and taxis, to which the London scheme excludes.
To date 13 UK towns and cities have developed a Low Emissions Zone (LEZs), whist it is understood that Manchester, Southampton, Newcastle and Derby are also looking at the potential of reducing harmful emissions by the introduction of an LEZ. This follows a pattern emerging across Europe to which numerous countries now have LEZs in place.
The need for action by local, regional and national governments was further highlighted by a recent report by the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London which showed the significance of adverse health effects of air pollution on particular groups due to either their susceptibility or their travel behaviour. The report, published earlier this month outlined a clear correlation between increased hospital admissions for ailments such as stroke and cardiac arrest in adults and child asthma attacks taking place on days with high pollution levels.
With reports such as this, Urban Vehicle Access Regulations (UVAR) are now being seen as one of the most effective controls used to help local authorities move towards reducing air pollution via controlling congestion but also at the same time helping to improve overall air quality, thereby leading to a healthy environment for all.
If passed by the city council at a meeting on 5 November, the Bristol scheme is likely to be implemented by March 2021 in conjunction with the joint air quality unit established by both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Transport. (DfT).