Nottingham council house shutterstock

Government support for Nottingham’s decision to reject plans for a charging clean air zone (CAZ) had opened the door for other cities to follow its example, according to the FTA.

The call follows approval by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for Nottingham’s plans to cut the city’s pollution levels. The city’s plans reject the CAZ option in favour of measures. These include retrofitting buses to Euro-6 standards and requiring the city’s taxis to improve their emissions standards.

Chris Yarsley, FTA’s Midland’s policy manager, said: “It’s important any air quality improvement scheme is designed with the unique needs of each place in mind – what works for one city may not be suitable for another – and this result shows the authorities are listening and adapting.

“The decision to overturn the mandate that Nottingham must introduce a CAZ sets a welcome precedent that government will consider more tailored plans that reflect the needs of each community.”

Yarsley continued: “This is positive news for local businesses and those traveling through the city from further afield; commercial vehicles which not do meet Euro-6 requirements will no longer be faced with heavy penalties for going about their daily work in Nottingham, as was originally laid out in the planned CAZ.

Read more

"These vehicles are an essential part of the city’s local economy – from delivering home shopping to providing businesses with the goods and services they need to operate – and it’s crucial their vital importance is recognised throughout air quality consultations.

"Nottingham’s plans will produce the same air quality improvements – if not more – without penalising hard-working vehicle operators.”

Pointing to Derby City Council, which is awaiting Defra approval for its plans, which, like Nottingham, reject the CAZ option, Yarsley called on Defra “to deliver the same answer to Derby as they did to Nottingham, and to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a CAZ truly is the best medicine to reducing a city’s pollution”.

Defra’s thumbs up to Nottingham’s plans closely follow the department’s decision to reject Leeds’ plans for a CAZ as too expensive. The city has been told to cut the cost of its bid by £13m.

Nottingham, Leeds and Deby, along with Birmingham and Southampton, are the first five UK cities to be tasked by Defra with cutting high levels of nitrogen dioxide by 2020 and directed to consider the introduction of CAZ schemes to do this.