Coronavirus delays Birmingham's clean air zone plan

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe CAZ will charge high-polluting vehicles entering the city centre

The coronavirus pandemic has delayed the introduction of Birmingham's Clean Air Zone (CAZ), the government has confirmed.

The zone, which will charge high-polluting vehicles for entering the city centre, will now not come into force until 2021.

The city council had asked officials to agree to the delay due to the "profound impact" of coronavirus on the economy.

Labour councillor Waseem Zaffar said he was pleased with the decision.

Mr Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment, said the postponement will be under "constant review" as the authority continues to monitor the impact of the virus.

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In a statement posted on social media, the councillor said: "Businesses are focussed on trying to support their employees through an extraordinary situation rather than upgrade their vehicle fleets.

"Lower income workers and residents are focussed on ensuring they and their families stay safe rather than apply for an exemption or financial incentive."

Birmingham was among five cities the government called on to establish a clean air zone along with Leeds, Southampton, Nottingham and Derby.

The CAZ was due to be introduced in the city this summer but had already encountered delays after problems with its online vehicle-checking service.

Though the government has said the delay will last until January next year, the official new launch has not yet been confirmed.

Locally, the measure introduces a fee-paying area within the A4540 ring road, but not the road itself. Cars deemed high polluters are set to be charged £8, while buses and HGVs will attract a £50 levy.

image copyrightBirmingham City Council
image captionA map shows the proposed clean air zone in Birmingham

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