Bristol plans to ban all privately-owned diesel vehicles from entering the city’s proposed clean air zone every day between 7am and 3pm by March 2021.
The proposal was approved by Marvin Rees, who was elected as the city’s Mayor in 2016, at a council cabinet meeting on Tuesday. It will make Bristol the UK’s first city to implement such a ban.
Rees said: “We have a moral, we have an ecological and we have a legal duty to clean up the air we breathe.”
The proposal was outlined in a thousand-page report – it will go to officials at the Department for Transport and Defra before a full consultation of local residents and businesses later next year.
The council also has considered issuing £60 fines to drivers who break the ban, however, the size of the penalty is yet to finalised.
Rees added: “A city is like a big Rubik’s Cube – you move one thing, other things come out of kilter. That’s why we take the time to think about it and begin to take action.”
On the other hand, concerns about the proposed scheme were raised by Conservative councillor Geoff Gollop, who claimed access to Bristol Royal Infirmary and other hospitals inside the clean air zone could be affected.
Conservative councillor Clair Hiscott said: “For people on low incomes, they will not be able to transition to different vehicles and currently if you need to get to the hospital and you have a diesel vehicle you will face a hefty fine if you cross that zone in an emergency.”
Concluding the talks, Rees said: “I approve the recommendations as set out in the report.”