Bristol could become the first UK city to ban diesel vehicles from part of its city centre. Bristol City Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve a small area diesel ban for all privately

owned vehicles and a charging zone for non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs. It is believed the ban would run from 7am to 3pm to tackle air pollution.

Proponents of the Clean Air Zone in the city say it would deliver the fastest possible improvement in air quality against targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits.

Further measures for tackling air quality through improving and prioritising public transport options have also been put forward, which support the Mayor of Bristol’s pledge to reduce the reliance on cars and increase the number of bus users. A car scrappage scheme would also be launched to help drivers replace their diesel cars.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “These ambitious plans demonstrate our commitment to tackling air pollution so we meet legal limits within the shortest time, without disproportionally affecting citizens on lower incomes which would happen with a blanket approach to charging vehicles.

“Protecting the most vulnerable people from pollution is central to these plans and we have ensured that all impacts have been carefully considered. If approved, mitigation measures will support those most affected, especially those living in the most deprived communities.”

If approved by the council, the plan will be submitted to the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) on Wednesday November 6. The council will then continue to work closely with JAQU on preparing the full business case for submission next year. The deadline for the implementation of the plans is March 2021.

Despite the good intentions of Bristol City Council, the scheme has come in for some criticism particularly as it does not differentiate between older diesel engines and modern ultra-low emission diesels. And despite the mention of a scrappage scheme, there were concerns about cost to drivers on a budget, who can’t afford to change their vehicle.