More UK towns and cities could introduce charges on polluting vehicles in plans to improve air quality.
In 2015, the government proposed that five cities – Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton – become clean air zones by 2020. This means that charges would be imposed on old diesel lorries, vans and taxis in these areas.
However, Ministers have now confirmed that dozens of other cities across the country will be encouraged to follow suit, in the continuing battle against dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air.
On Wednesday, MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) select committee called for the clean air zones in order to ‘cut the risk of cardiac, respiratory and other diseases’. In a report, the committee vowed to ‘work with other cities that wanted to be more 'ambitious' in cutting emissions below legal levels’.
In response the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that it had ‘received interest from other cities to put in place a clean air zone’.
It said that alongside government-imposed restrictions; local authorities could opt to charge private car drivers.
Campaign group ClientEarth had previously dismissed the five clean air zones as inadequate. Alan Andrews, a lawyer at the group, commented: "The committee is right to call for more clean air zones. We need a national network of these, alongside other measures that can be taken urgently. This is a public health crisis, it’s time for the government to act in the interests of our health."
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.