New blow for diesel
The proposed ban on private diesel vehicles in Bristol city centre represents a new blow for the beleaguered fuel. We look at what’s next for diesel.
Bristol has become the first UK city to announce a total ban on privately owned diesel vehicles in parts of the city centre, in a bid to improve air quality.
It’s part of Bristol Council’s ambitious strategy for a Clean Air Zone in the city. Commercial vehicles, such as buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs, will need to pay to enter the zone.
The scheme, which will come into force in 2021 if it gets government approval, will ban privately owned diesel vehicles from entering an area of the city centre between 7am and 3pm. There will also be a wider Clean Air Zone.
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.”
The Bristol scheme covers a small area of the city. But in London, which already has an Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), diesel owners are set to be hit by more far-reaching regulations.
The city’s ULEZ came into force in April 2019. It covers the same area as the Congestion Charge zone and drivers of older diesel vehicles have to pay £12.50 per day to drive there. But from October 2021, the ULEZ will be extended out to the North and South Circular Roads, taking in many of the city’s suburbs.
Other cities, including Birmingham and Leicester, are also proposing the introduction of Clean Air Zones.
The effects of these regulations may be taking their toll on diesel car sales: the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reports that new diesel registrations were down by 18.3% in May this year.