Bristol proposes a ban on ALL diesel cars from March 2021

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Diesel ban: Bristol City Council is to present its plans for a


Bristol proposes a ban on ALL diesel cars and a congestion charge zone for commercial vehicles from March 2021

  • Bristol City Council had previously put forwards two options to cut air pollution
  • First was a ban on diesel cars and second a charging zone for buses, taxis and HGVS
  • More extreme plans being put forward are a combination of the two options
  • A scrappage scheme is part of the proposal to help owners replace diesel cars

Bristol City Council has proposed a ban on all diesel vehicles from its city centre as well as a congestion charge zone for older commercial vehicles from 2021 in a bid to reduce air pollution.

If approved, it would be a landmark ruling, becoming the first UK city to impose an outright ban on diesel passenger cars.

A designated Clean Air Zone would also include a congestion charge affecting non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis and lorries having to pay a fee to enter the city centre. 

Diesel ban: Bristol City Council is to present its plans for a ‘small area’ ban on diesel cars in the city centre and a congestion charge zone for buses, taxis and lorries next week

While private cars would be included in the ‘small area diesel ban’ in a designated section of the city, they would escape the wider congestion charge. 

Bristol City Council had previously consulted on two options earlier this year – a ban on diesel cars during peak hours or a congestion zone for commercial vehicles – but estimated that each option alone would not have cut harmful nitrogen oxide (NO2) levels to legal limits until 2028. 

In order to hit EU air quality targets sooner, a more radical third option being presented is a combination of the two. 

‘Bristol City Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve an ambitious plan for a Clean Air Zone in the city which will deliver the fastest possible improvement in air quality against targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits,’ it said in a statement last night.

If given the green light, the ban and congestion zone will be implemented from March 2021.

That would make Bristol the first UK city to impose a small area diesel ban on all vehicles – more extreme measures than have so far been proposed for London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Even the latest – and cleanest – diesel cars would not avoid the restriction. 

The plans include the introduction of a vehicle scrappage scheme to help those with diesel cars replace them with petrol or greener hybrid and electric models, it has been confirmed. 

The mayor also promised to improve the public transport network in the city as part of efforts to persuade locals to give up their polluting cars.

If given the green light by the government, the extreme measures would be introduced in March 2021 - making Bristol the first UK city to impose a ban on all diesel cars in a specific area

If given the green light by the government, the extreme measures would be introduced in March 2021 – making Bristol the first UK city to impose a ban on all diesel cars in a specific area

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: ‘These ambitious plans demonstrate our commitment to tackling air pollution so we meet legal limits within the shortest time, without disproportionally 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.’

The plans are due to be presented to the city council’s cabinet on Tuesday 5 November.

If approved, the proposals will then be submitted to the Joint Air Quality Unit – a team setup by the Department for Transport and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to specifically deliver changes to reduce pollution to meet EU limits.  

A thumbs up from the government department would see the ban and congestion charge zone introduced in less than two year’s time. 

Bristol is the sixth biggest city in the UK with a population of around 617,000 people – more than Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds. 

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