Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Bristol Diesel Ban Approved in Effort to Clean Air

Energy
Bristol Diesel Ban Approved in Effort to Clean Air
Traffic leaves and enters Bristol, which could become the UK's first city to ban diesel vehicles to boost air quality. Ben Birchall / PA Images / Getty Images

Bristol moved one step closer Tuesday to becoming the first city in the UK to ban diesel cars from its city center in an effort to tackle deadly air pollution, BBC News reported.


The ban, which would prohibit private diesel vehicles from entering the city center between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., was approved by the Bristol City Council Tuesday. If it is approved by the government, it would go into effect by 2021.

"It's hard to overstate how significant a policy intervention this is," BBC Radio Bristol politics reporter Pete Simson said. "This is a first, no other UK city is introducing an outright diesel ban, and it will require the government to introduce new legislation."

Air pollution in Bristol kills around 300 people a year, Bristol Live reported, and the city is under a legal obligation to lower its high levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide as quickly as possible to below legal limits. Because of this, efforts to clean the city's air have wide support, but some have raised concerns about the plan's impact on low-income residents.

The plan will ban private vehicles from the center, but allow taxis and emergency vehicles. Private vehicles will have to pay a fine if they drive into the restricted area, and commercial vehicles will need to pay a fee to access it, The Guardian explained. However, details concerning the amount of fines and which vehicles may be exempt have not been finalized by the "business proposal" passed Tuesday.

The plan would also establish a wider Clean Air Zone (CAZ) according to BBC News. Private vehicles would be allowed to enter this zone free of charge, and diesel trucks, vans, taxis and busses that paid to enter the CAZ could then also enter the more restricted area.

The plans will be enforced by a license plate recognition system similar to the one used in London for its congestion charge.

Officials called the combined ban and CAZ a "hybrid" plan, and Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said it was the "quickest route" to meeting legal requirements and to "tak[ing] care of people on the lowest incomes," according to Bristol Live.

Bristol isn't the only city in the UK that struggles with air pollution, The Guardian noted. It is one of 36 out of 43 local governments in England and Wales where nitrogen dioxide levels exceed legal limits. UK-wide, nitrogen dioxide leads to around 23,500 early deaths every year. If other sources of air pollution are taken into account, the number rises to 40,000 early UK deaths.

A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer holds a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 30, 2020. Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

By Jon Queally

Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.

Read More Show Less

A dwarf giraffe is seen in Uganda, Africa. Dr. Michael Brown, GCF

Nine feet tall is gigantic by human standards, but when researcher and conservationist Michael Brown spotted a giraffe in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park that measured nine feet, four inches, he was shocked.

Read More Show Less
Kelsey Mueller, 16, pets Ruby while waiting with her family to be escorted from the evacuation zone at the Shaver Lake Marina parking lot off of CA-168 during the Creek Fire on Sept. 7, 2020 in Shaver Lake, California. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Daisy Simmons

In a wildfire, hurricane, or other disaster, people with pets should heed the Humane Society's advice: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your animals either.

Read More Show Less