Nottingham Air Quality plan should set a nationwide precedent

Clean Air Zones (CAZs) are not a one-size-fits-all solution to improving air quality, as illustrated by Nottingham City Council and DEFRA, which has agreed the city does not require a charging low emission zone to meet its air quality targets.

This landmark move has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the business group representing the interests of the logistics sector, which hopes that other cities across the country take the same common-sense attitude to clean air policies.

Chris Yarsley, FTA’s Policy Manager for the Midlands commented: “The logistics sector is committed to reducing its vehicle emissions wherever possible and takes this responsibility very seriously. Yet it’s important any air quality improvement scheme is designed with the unique needs of each place in mind – what works for one city may not be suitable for another –  and this result shows the authorities are listening and adapting. The decision to overturn the mandate that Nottingham must introduce a CAZ sets a welcome precedent that government will consider more tailored plans that reflect the needs of each community.”

Yarsley continued: “This is positive news for local businesses and those traveling through the city from further afield; commercial vehicles which not do meet Euro 6 requirements will no longer be faced with heavy penalties for going about their daily work in Nottingham, as was originally laid out in the planned CAZ. These vehicles are an essential part of the city’s local economy – from delivering home shopping to providing businesses with the goods and services they need to operate – and it’s crucial their vital importance is recognised throughout air quality consultations. Nottingham’s plans will produce the same air quality improvements – if not more – without penalising hard-working vehicle operators.”

Nottingham is the first local authority to have its air quality plan approved as part of the government’s mission to improve air quality nationwide.

Yarsley finishes: “Derby City Council is currently presenting its case against a CAZ, believing other solutions will deliver a better outcome in a quicker time frame without damaging its local economy. FTA calls on DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to deliver the same answer to Derby as they did to Nottingham, and to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a CAZ truly is the best medicine to reducing a city’s pollution.”

Nottingham’s plan to improve air quality includes a range of measures, including retrofitting 171 buses with technology to reduce emissions; supporting an increase in low emission taxis; and introducing a taxi rank with charging points.

Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.  With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.  A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.  

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