Cardiff council drops clean air zone charge proposal

Congestion charge signImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Council leaders now think a congestion charge would divert rather than reduce air pollution

A proposal to charge some motorists entering Cardiff is set to be dropped from a £32m plan to reduce air pollution and congestion in the city.

Cardiff Council had been considering a clean air zone to meet green targets.

But the authority now believes it would penalise the owners of older cars and simply spread pollution to other parts of the city.

Alternative proposals include more city centre bus and cycle lanes, and the introduction of electric buses.

New taxi licences would only be approved for vehicles that meet the Euro 6 emission standards, with £5.5m available to help taxi owners make the changes needed.

Changes to active travel routes and new 20mph zones - costing £4.5m - also form part of the plans.

The change of approach follows public consultation on the plans last year.

Labour leaders of the council now say they will only consider a clean air zone if the other measures fail.

Castle Street and Westgate Street have been identified as the locations most likely to breach European Union clean air directives.

However, Councillor Caro Wild, cabinet member for transport, said: "We may be within legal limits across the city, but the cleaner we can make the air the better it will be for everyone."

If plans are approved next week, the council will seek funding for the two-year programme from the Welsh Government.

Meanwhile, councillors in the neighbouring city of Newport are due to consider the idea of a clean air zone with vehicle charges as part of a draft sustainable travel strategy.

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