This is what you need to know about the delay and what exactly Clean Air Zones are.
Birmingham Clean Air Zone delayed
Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone is designed to clamp down on vehicles which have been decided to be high polluters in the city centre. The delay is attributed to an online vehicle checking service that’s been giving incorrect results.
The online checker went live on the government website, which asked drivers for their registration number to see how they will be affected by the Clean Air Zones.
However, the RAC said that the service would clear some vehicles for use in London, but not in Birmingham - despite both cities having the same requirements. Birmingham City Council leader, Ian Ward, commented that it was important for people to have enough time to figure out how they would be affected by the Clean Air Zones, prior to their launch.
Ward said that the site should hopefully be ready by the end of the month. The council said that once this issue has been resolved, there will be six months before the Clean Air Zone is officially launched.
How does the online checker work?
Once you’ve typed your registration number into the online checker, you’ll need to state whether it’s been registered within the UK or not. As it stands, the service can’t register vehicles from outside the UK.
Next, you’ll see a page asking “are these vehicle details correct?” with the details the checker has found on your vehicle, such as the make, model, colour and fuel type, for example.
You’ll also need to state whether your vehicle is a taxi or a private hire vehicle. Next you’ll need to state which Clean Air Zone location you want to drive in - as it stands, the only two locations are Birmingham and Leeds.
Once you’ve selected the location you want to know about, the checker inform you whether or not your vehicle will be charged for driving in that zone.
What are Clean Air Zones?
A Clean Air Zone is an area within a local authority which has brought in measures to improve the air quality.
According to the RAC, it was initially thought that Clean Air Zones would only apply to buses, taxis and HGVs - however, this has been widened to include “non-compliant private vehicles”, meaning motorists may be affected by these zones, not just commercial operators.
There will be two kinds of Clean Air Zones: charging and non-charging.
In a charging zone, drivers will be charged a fee to enter into the zone if their vehicle fails to meet the necessary environmental standards. Drivers of the most polluting vehicles can be charged up to £100 a day to enter the charging zones.
In non-charging zones, the focus is more aimed at improving air quality without charging money on vehicles to enter the zone.
The measures used to improve the air quality can include:
- Retrofitting certain vehicles
- Traffic flow management to reduce vehicle emissions (where evidence suggests this would be effective)
- Rerouting some traffic, or other local solutions