The consultation, which closes on Monday (12 August), examines options to reduce harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution in central Bristol. Air pollution is invisible and exposure at fairly low concentrations can be harmful, leading to severe health problems.
The council’s options are designed to lower pollution in the shortest possible time, whilst minimising any negative financial impacts for people on lower incomes.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Your comments are essential to ensure Bristol implements the most effective and fair clean air improvements for our growing city. Tackling air quality must go hand in hand with social justice and you can help by telling us on how these options could affect you. We are particularly keen to hear from people living or working in central areas of city, where pollution levels are highest. Your views will shape the additional changes we need to consider to help those most affected by the proposals.
“We have more work to do alongside air quality improvements and climate action, including finalising a new bus deal for the city and continuing to push government for the investment and powers we need to address this urgent problem.”
The two Traffic Clean Air Options are:
Option 1: Clean Air Zone (private cars not charged)
• A zone where more polluting buses, coaches, taxis, heavy (HGVs) and light goods vehicles (LGVs) would be charged for each day they are driven in the zone. Taxis and LGVs would be charged £9 per day. HGVs, coaches and buses £100.
Option 1 would also include:
• a 24-hour a day, seven day a week HGV weight restriction on the worst polluted routes;
• A diesel car ban on Upper Maudlin Street and Park Row running from St James Barton roundabout to Park Street between 7am and 3pm, seven days a week (this would not apply to taxis/private hire or emergency services);
• Bus and local traffic changes in the most polluting areas including an inbound bus lane on the M32, an inbound bus lane on Cumberland Road and using existing traffic signals to control the amount of traffic entering congested areas with poor air quality;
• A scrappage scheme (up to £2,000) for diesel cars. This would provide a grant towards a newer cleaner vehicle or an alternative mode of transport (e.g. bus travel or purchasing a bike).
Option 2: Diesel car ban
Banning all diesel cars from driving in a specific central area (small zone) from 7am to 3pm, seven days a week (this would not apply to taxis/private hire or emergency services). Other measures, including a scrappage scheme, could also be included.
Reducing air pollution to legal levels is also known as ‘reaching compliance’ and technical work indicates all areas of the city would meet these levels by 2029 for Option 1 of the ongoing consultation and by 2028 for Option 2. Due to how close together these dates are, more technical modelling on each option is needed to reach a definitive view on which option would reach compliance in the shortest possible time. The majority of roads in Bristol are predicted to meet compliant levels before 2028 and 2029.
The council has updated details of street-by-street compliance dates for Option 1 and 2, following continued work on technical modelling. In the update for Option 1, Park Street is predicted to hold back the compliance date instead of Marlborough Street. In Option 2, two locations – Marlborough Street and Church Road – are estimated to take the longest to reach compliance.
Further information about the updated compliance dates can be found on the council’s website.
To complete the consultation go to bristol.gov.uk/trafficcleanairzone. Individuals do not have to complete all the questions, any feedback given is useful. Please ensure the ‘About You’ questions (including postcode) are completed to help the council understand different views from across the city.