'Clean Air Zone': Nottingham could impose camera-contolled charges for polluting vehicles

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Documents published by the Government suggest the most effective way of cutting nitrogen dioxide is thought to be implementing "clean air zones" in 27 towns and cities where air pollution levels are illegally high.

Birmingham and Leeds have already committed to introducing Clean Air Zones by 2020 along with Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.

Alternatively the scheme could be targeted at vehicles from a specific sector, particular areas or individuals.

Despite numerous reports that the Government would outline plans for an incentivised diesel scrappage scheme, the strategy distances itself from the concept, opening it up instead as part of the consultation to follow.

"Rather than taking responsibility for the quality of the air our children breathe, this Tory government is trying to palm this issue off onto cash-strapped local councils".

It has not revised its own air quality strategy, Cleaner Air for Scotland, and key parts of that strategy are now over a year behind schedule, camapigners say.

The Scottish Government plans just one Low Emission Zone by next year, yet people suffer from illegal air pollution in each of our major cities.

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Charges for entering Clean Air Zones will not be mandatory but certain guidelines have been set to determine who and what vehicles it could affect.

However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which has launched a consultation on the plan, says it would prefer local authorities not to charge motorists.

With the political parties now campaigning for the general election, the Conservatives said they were opposed to Labour's approach of "hitting motorists in the pocket" by imposing charging zones and increasing parking charges.

Local authorities are already responsible for improving air quality in their area, but they are now expected to develop new and creative solutions to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

New details released show that only 9,000 diesel cars on Britain's roads will be eligible for the proposed "scrappage scheme".

Last night, Fair-Fuel UK founder Howard Cox blasted the plans accusing the Government of "betraying hard-working families, white van drivers and small businesses".

A long-awaited Government plan to tackle illegal air pollution is "toothless and wholly inadequate", London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned.

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Speculation had been rife of potential "toxin taxes" for drivers of the most polluting vehicles, but these "clean air zones" will not necessarily be required to include a charging zone according to the government.

In April 2015, the UK's Supreme Court ruled that the government had to take action, with the timescale bought forward following a lengthy legal battle with environmental lawyers ClientEarth.

"We also need changes to vehicle excise duty to encourage people to buy the greenest cars".

The government is seeking views on these proposals in advance of preparing its final plan for publication by 31 July 2017 and the consultation will run until 15 June 2017. The application was rejected by the courts, but not before critics accused the Government of running scared from a crack down on heavily-polluting diesel cars.

The UK government is set to reveal a draft air pollution plan after a long legal battle with environmental campaigners.

"The Green Party's air pollution plan would tackle this emergency, and force auto companies to pay their way for the damage they have done to people's health".

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