Mayor’s clean air plan still off mark

30 October 2019

The Mayor has announced his plans for a diesel vehicle ban combined with a clean air zone charge to clean up our air. This will involve banning diesel vehicles from a small area of the city centre plus a bigger charging zone for older, polluting commercial vehicles such as buses and taxis.

The Mayor has had years to address the air pollution that worst affects some of our poorest families living in pollution hot spots.

The current Mayor was elected on a promise to improve air quality and Greens in Bristol have been working hard to keep him to that promise.

Yet three years on we still have illegal air quality in many parts of the city and an estimated 300 people die from the effects of poor air in Bristol annually.

Higher pollution days in the city cause four more cardiac arrests and an additional 18 hospital admissions for asthma or strokes amongst children and adults.*

According to his own report, these proposals from the Mayor depend on the Government changing the law to allow the Council to put a diesel vehicle ban in place.

There is a real risk that that will not happen soon, and it is possible it will not happen at all. So the people of Bristol could be left waiting even longer for clean air, as plans are delayed yet again.

Even if that change in legislation happens, and this plan is implemented as set out, it holds back the start of any action until March 2021 – the final possible date allowed by Government.

In short, the Mayor is doing as little as he can, as late as he can, instead of doing everything he can to protect the health of Bristol’s citizens.

The Green Party thinks there is a huge amount to be gained from robust air quality proposals – not only better health but improved public transport, cycling and walking and a city that is built around people and communities.

The current Mayor has spent nearly three years trying to avoid a hard decision on this. Greens will go beyond the legal minimum; they will improve air quality, people’s health and public transport, giving better access to work and education for all.

*King’s College London and UK100 report.

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