Parts of the UK have been looking for ways to reduce the number of diesel cars on the road for quite some time. It has been a controversial, even contentious issue, but many see it as a necessary step in protecting the environment. However, no city in the United Kingdom has actively prohibited the use of diesel cars on its streets, until now.
However, it was recently announced Bristol in South West England will be the first city in the UK to take that step. The council voted for a scheme banning diesel cars from the city streets during the day. A major move forward, designed to counteract unlawful rates of air pollution in the area. The scheme is still awaiting government approval but, should it go ahead, it will come into effect in two years’ time.
Under the scheme, privately owned diesel cars will be prohibited from a central ban zone. Encompassing a section of the M32, the old city, Spike Island, Redcliffe and the Harbourside, among other areas. The ban will stand from 7.00 in the morning to 3.00 in the afternoon.
If a diesel vehicle enters the banned zone, the owner will have to pay a fine, unless they are a taxi driver or member of the emergency services. Motorists may be identified by a plate recognition process, but the finer details of how much they must pay in fines, along with which type of driver or vehicle may be unaffected, are yet to be finalised.
Some may consider these restrictions harsh, but, on the other hand, the city has a notorious air pollution problem. Bristol is reportedly among over 40 local authorities in England and Wales with illegal toxic air levels. The high rates of pollution have been attributed in part to increased NO2, nitrogen dioxide, given off by diesel vehicles. A fact which has seemingly played a role in developing this ground-breaking scheme.
Bristol has now become the first city in the UK to ban diesel vehicles. However, motorists across the country may now be wondering which is next to follow suit.