shutterstock_1116574223 (1)

Bristol’s plan to launch its own clean air zone (CAZ) next summer will be “challenging” for hauliers and exemptions will be required to give firms time to upgrade, according to the RHA.

The city council has secured £42m of government funding to invest in greener transport initiatives after being picked out as one of a number of towns and cities that needed to tackle air pollution.

As a result, it said it would introduce “one of the most wide-ranging clean air zones in the UK” and transform the way people use transport in Bristol.

Mayor Marvin Rees said: “We are tackling a climate emergency, but we also have people facing financial crisis.

“We can’t look at these two things in isolation. We have taken our time to find a way to clean up our air while not adding huge financial strain to people that live and work in our city.”

The council said it would launch a £2m freight consolidation project to help businesses switch to greener ways of transporting goods and meet its target of 95% of all city centre deliveries made by zero-emission vehicles within 10 years.

A further £32m is being used for firms to upgrade their HGVs and LCVs.

The council added that exemptions would be available, including for people with commercial vehicles subject to finance agreements.

The RHA said it supported the net-zero ambition, but it raised concerns over the timing: “We support the aim to achieve clean air,” said Chris Ashley, RHA head of policy for environment and regulation.

“However, whilst any funding to help hauliers upgrade their fleets is welcome it’s not enough to help all operators who serve Bristol.

“Furthermore, when there are ongoing problems with the supply of compliant vehicles due to the pandemic, the timing of the Bristol CAZ is challenging, and the exemptions flagged by the council will be essential.”