Birmingham City Council has written to central government requesting postponement to the launch of its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the council, the impact of COVID-19 on Birmingham has meant that the current priority for income workers and residents is to ensure that they and their families stay safe.
Furthermore, the effect on businesses has meant that their current focus is on trying to support employees rather than upgrade vehicle fleets.
The council has therefore requested to delay the launch of the zone until at least the end of the calendar year, to be kept under constant review in conjunction with the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit.
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “The current situation has meant we need to make changes to our original plans.
“COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the economy of the city and our preparations for the Clean Air Zone.
“However, air pollution remains an on-going concern for this city.
“Once we have addressed coronavirus in the immediate term, poor air quality will continue to be a significant issue in the long term, and we should not be complacent.
“We believe that a Clean Air Zone in Birmingham remains the most effective way of making a sustainable improvement to Birmingham’s air quality and we will continue to put in place the infrastructure required to support it.”
Applications remain open for CAZ temporary exemption permits. These will be available to residents, low income workers and businesses in the CAZ for a period of one to two years after launch.
All of these exemption permits are subject to eligibility criteria, including the ownership of a vehicle that does not meet the emission standards for the CAZ.
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