The government is committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society. A cleaner, healthier environment benefits people and the local community. Clean air is essential for making sure the UK is a welcoming, healthy and prosperous country for people to live and work.
Over recent decades, UK air quality has improved significantly thanks to concerted action at all levels but there is more to do. Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK and investing in cleaner air and doing even more to tackle air pollution are priorities for the UK government. Action must be proportionate though, with the interests of local people at the heart of action to improve air quality.
Action to improve air quality is grounded in our modern industrial strategy. The government has identified ten key pillars to drive forward its industrial strategy, including delivering affordable energy and clean growth, alongside investing in science, research and innovation, upgrading infrastructure and driving growth across the country. Local authorities have a role to play in supporting and coordinating this as they develop and implement their proposals for tackling air quality.
So, what is a Clean Air Zone?
Clean Air Zones aim to address all sources of pollution, including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, and reduce public exposure to them using a range of measures tailored to the particular location.
Within a Clean Air Zone there is also a particular focus on measures to accelerate the transition to a low emission economy. This will ensure improvements are ongoing and sustainable, support future development and decouple local growth from air pollution.
Clean Air Zones fall into two categories:
Non-charging Clean Air Zones – These are defined geographic areas used as a focus for action to improve air quality. This action can take a range of forms, but does not include the use of charge based access restrictions.
Charging Clean Air Zones – These are zones where, in addition to the above, vehicle owners are required to pay a charge to enter, or move within, a zone if they are driving a vehicle that does not meet the particular standard for their vehicle type in that zone. Clean Air Zone proposals are not required to include a charging zone.
About the Low Emission Zones
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) covers most of Greater London and operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It was introduced in 2008 to encourage the most polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving in the Capital to become cleaner.
Ultimate Low Emission Zones (ULEZ)
From April 2019, all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will need to meet exhaust emission standards (ULEZ standards), or pay a daily charge, when travelling in central London.
The ULEZ standards are in addition to any Congestion Charge or Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charges already applied. The area covered by the ULEZ is the same as the current Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ). It will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including weekends and public holiday.
To support the ULEZ, all double-decker buses operating in the Congestion Charging zone will be hybrid electric vehicles and all single-decker buses in the zone will emit nothing from their engine exhaust (they will be full electric or hydrogen models).
Transport for London (TFL) Green Corridors
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced plans for 10 more Low Emission Bus Zones deploying the greenest buses on the capital’s most polluted routes to cut harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
The new greener buses, which will be a combination of hybrid and clean buses that meet Euro VI standards, are part of an improvement programme to 3,000 buses outside central London.
The zones are expected to reduce NOx emissions from buses along the routes by around 84 per cent and will fulfil the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to introduce Low Emission Bus Zones by 2020.
Low Emission Bus Zones are one of several measures the Mayor has asked TFL to take to reduce emissions from the capital’s bus fleet, including the phasing out of diesel only buses and a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero emission double deck buses from 2018.
Delivering local ambition
A Clean Air Zone supports local plans for growth. The zone will become part of, and fit with, local strategies, plans and policies and transport plans. There will be clear leadership in delivering the goals of the zone including by local authorities and other public bodies ‘leading by example’ across the different themes.
How and where building and other developments are planned and built can have an effect on air quality. Approaches to planning in Clean Air Zones can help support a range of themes in this framework and encourage more sustainable behaviour, for example in the way people use electric vehicles and by making cycling and walking easier and more attractive. There are also opportunities to make strong links to approaches to other environmental behaviours including nature conservation, waste minimisation and energy efficiency.
Playing our Part
WJF Technical Support Ltd has been working with Eminox on its retrofitting programme for approximately six years. Operating with the Eminox team of experts has grown into a strong working relationship, and we now also undertake their service work (in partnership) all over the UK. Our highly trained technicians are able to diagnose and rectify faults using the latest plug-in technology on projects including Transport for London (TFL) – Green Corridors, Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) and Clean Air Zones (CAZ) Please follow the link for further information.