England's first Clean Air Zone outside London launches in Birmingham

Birmingham, the former motor city of the UK that has been infested by the poor air quality for several years, is reportedly set to introduce the country’s first clean air zone (CAZ) outside of London. As a part of this move, which has been welcomed by the campaigners, private cars will be charged to enter the area.

Sources have confirmed that starting from June 1, drivers of old polluting cars, vans, and taxis, who travel into the center of the city will be charged £8 daily. On the other hand, coaches, HGVs and buses will be charged £50 per day. As a part of this move, a quarter of cars in the city are expected to be affected. However, there are temporary exemptions for community and commercial vehicles, as well as some residents and workers.

The scheme, which has been delayed by 11 months due to the pandemic and certain technical issues, seems to face controversy. Some believe that the charge is expected to affect the businesses that are striving to bounce back after the lockdown. It can also disproportionately impact the taxi drivers and lower earners who cannot afford upgrading their vehicles.

Birmingham is reportedly one of many cities that are planning to launch CAZs after the government lost in a high court case about breaching legal levels of air pollution in England and 37 local authorities were ordered to act.

Well-known critic of the Birmingham CAZ, Khalid Mahmood, the Labor MP has claimed that the council has used false and manipulated data and information for justifying the scheme and has called for more transparency. Mahmood also argued that a cleaner and affordable bus service would be more effective in ensuring clean air.

Opposing this, labor councilor and cabinet member for transport and environment, Waseem Zaffar stated that the data showed nitrogen dioxide levels were above the legal limit across 19 locations in Birmingham and that the air pollution reduces the lives of hundreds of city residents every year.

Source credits: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/30/businesses-fear-impact-clean-air-zone-launch-birmingham

Sunil Jha has been a part of the content industry for over 3 years now. Having previously worked as a voice over artist and sportswriter, he now focuses on penning down articles across numerous topics, for JustPositivity.com. With a business-oriented educational background, Sunil brings forth the expertise of intensive research and a strategic approach in his pieces.