Clear Air Zones are set to be introduced by local authorities that have breached air quality standards making them the central focus of the government’s long-awaited plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels nationally.
The government hopes that its proposals – the plans name around 80 local authorities with roads with concentrations of NO2 forecasted at above legal levels – will reduce the impact of diesel vehicles, and accelerate the move to cleaner transport, notably plug-in vehicles.
Clean Air Zone entry criteria would potentially be: Cars and vans, Euro6 diesel or Euro4 petrol; HGVs, buses and coaches, Euro V1; and motorcycles/mopeds, Euro3. Vehicles that do not meet those standards could be charged entry so a formal timetable for Clean Air Zone introduction is likely to influence vehicle replacement cycles.
Other measures to improve air quality suggested in the raft of government documents published in the wake of a long-running legal battle to force ministers to take tough action to improve air quality, include:
•Reducing speed limits notably on motorways from 70mph to 60mph, although the documents say further monitoring in real world conditions was required
•Improved vehicle labelling to encourage a shift of purchasing behaviour away from new diesel vehicles to alternative vehicle types
•Influencing driver behaviour through eco-driving schemes.
However, the government appears not to be much in favour of a launching a much-publicised scrappage scheme to remove older diesel cars and vans from the UK’s roads.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ proposals are open to consultation until June 15 ahead of preparing its final plan for publication by July 31.