tevva.011 (1)

Plans for a controversial clean air zone (CAZ) in Coventry have been abandoned in a move the RHA has described as "a victory for common sense".

The government has now backed Coventry City Council’s plans to improve air quality without charging hauliers and other road users.

New measures including improved road networks and investment in cleaner air technologies have won ministers over after they had originally ordered local officials to implement a CAZ to bring emissions down to within legal limits.

Councillors opposed the scheme and submitted revised proposals last summer.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett has challenged other local authorities to follow Coventry's lead.

“Ministers have made the right choice backing moves to improve air quality which avoid charging road users," he said, "but it’s taken a bold approach from Coventry to win the argument.

“They recognise that imposing a CAZ would be disastrous for their city, as have officials in Southampton, Nottingham and Derby.”

Read more

Chris Yarsley, FTA policy manager for the Midlands, also praised the decision: “A charging CAZ would have been the very worst option for Coventry; it would have damaged the local economy while failing to deliver long-term improvements to the city’s air quality.

"The government is right to rule that other solutions – including intelligent road design, installing fleets of electric buses and investment into cycling routes – can deliver quicker, more sustainable improvements to air quality without penalising hard-working local businesses. After all, vehicles operating in the city will reach the emission standards required to enter a CAZ within a few years due to the natural fleet replacement cycles.

“The FTA worked closely with officials from Coventry City Council to ensure the concerns of our members were heard during their decision-making process; we are pleased they have taken our advice on board. We will now liaise with the council to ensure its package of air quality measures allow commercial fleet operators continued access to the city, so they can continue to deliver the goods and services residents and businesses need every day.”

Coventry City Council has been told to submit a final business case by 19 June.

The RHA added that councilors are proposing a ban on HGVs in part of Foleshill Road and restrictions on ‘polluting vehicles’ on a section of the A4114 Holyhead Road.

"The Association will assess what this means for hauliers in due course," it said.