This week we have reached an important milestone: three months to go until the launch of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone on 28 November. Its introduction will be another big step forward on our journey to creating a healthier city with cleaner air for all.
We’ve sought to introduce Bristol’s Clean Air Zone in a way that protects the most deprived households in our city as well as our trades and businesses. That is why we’ve secured over £42 million to support the switch to cleaner vehicles, alongside wider support with the national cost of living crisis.
I also know that many people will need more time to prepare for the zone which is why we’re offering temporary exemptions to help make this change easier. I’m pleased to announce that the government have agreed to our request to extend the temporary exemption period until the end of March 2023. Applications for exemptions will open in late September.
We’re helping Bristol’s businesses and residents prepare for the zone with our financial support schemes. Almost three-quarters of drivers won’t be charged because their vehicles already meet emissions standards, and many businesses have already upgraded their fleets to cleaner vehicles.
Grants and interest free loans are currently on offer to help you upgrade to a vehicle that won’t be charged in the zone. This doesn’t have to be a brand new or electric vehicle – it can be second hand as long as it meets the zone’s emissions standards.
If you are impacted, there is still time to apply for financial support. I would urge anyone affected to get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help you. You can find out more about financial support on our website.
As well as transitioning to cleaner vehicles, we want to encourage Bristol residents to switch to more sustainable modes of travel. We’ve secured over £5.9 million of support to help make this a reality.
Our free travel offers include bike and e-bike trials, cycle training, VOI e-Scooter credit, bus tickets, and planning sessions with travel experts to help people explore all their options for their regular journeys. These offers are a great opportunity for people in Bristol to try out new ways of travelling that are better for their health, wellbeing, and the environment too. Anyone who lives or works in Bristol is eligible to receive the free offers and can apply on our website now.
If you haven’t already, check whether your vehicle will be charged and visit the council website to find out how we can help you upgrade your vehicle or try a different way of travelling.
We know that Clean Air Zones are successful at tackling air pollution. One year after launching their zone, our neighbours in Bath have seen nitrogen dioxide concentrations reduced by 21 per cent inside the zone and a 22 per cent reduction in the urban area outside the zone. Bristol is introducing the same class of Clean Air Zone as Birmingham. In one year, nitrogen dioxide levels within their zone have dropped by an average of 13% compared to pre-covid levels.