The English city of Birmingham announced on Tuesday the “soft launch” of its Clean Air Zone which will apply a daily fee to vehicles that do not meet the emission standards for the zone, a move designed to encourage drivers of the most polluting vehicles to upgrade or replace their vehicles.
Birmingham becomes only the second city in the country to implement a clean air zone, after London introduced its own Ultra Low Emission Zone back in 2019. A less restrictive Clean Air Zone has also been implemented in the English city of Bath but is imposed only on commercial vehicles.
From June 14 owners of non-compliant vehicles without a valid exemption will be required to pay a daily fee of £8 for cars, taxis, and large goods vehicles (LGVs), and £50 a day for coaches, buses and HGVs.
“After more than two years of planning, I’m delighted to launch Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone,” said Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council.
“This is a bold move that will help to address some significant health inequalities in our city.This is also an important step in encouraging people to re-think how we all move around the city.
“I’m confident that this initiative will save lives, and provide a cleaner, greener, safer space for our communities in a part of our city that has a problem with poor air quality.
Residents of Birmingham are already able to check if their vehicle meets the Zone’s emission standard by visiting the Brum Breathes website.
The soft launch of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone was marked with a dramatic exhibition where harmless smoke was released from the viewing platform and roof of the iconic Library of Birmingham building intended to represent the average amount of NOx that will be saved every 10 seconds through the introduction of the Clean Air Zone.
Smoke was emitted from the roof of the iconic building, representing the average amount of NOx that will be saved every 10 seconds through the Zone. 😮💨
— Unique Venues Bham (@uvbirmingham) June 2, 2021
The introduction of the Clean Air Zone was also accompanied by a short film about the impact of air pollution on the City of Birmingham and the steps the city is taking towards cleaning its air pollution.