Nottingham City Council has become the first local authority
to have its plans to tackle air pollution in the city centre approved by the
The Council, which is not introducing a Clean Air Zone
(CAZ), has for the past three years been working with officials from the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for
Transport to identify measures to reduce levels of pollution in the shortest
possible time and deliver compliance with legal air quality limits.
The plans were assessed by government officials and have now
cleared by ministers who have issued a Ministerial Direction for the plan to be
implemented as part of the government’s wider £3.5 billion plan to tackle
harmful emissions from road transport across the country.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “I am delighted to
approve Nottingham City Council’s new air quality plan. Air pollution is the
top environmental risk to health in the UK and these government-funded plans
will clean up the air in the city centre, protecting residents and visitors
“The plans have been finalised thanks to hard work and
collaboration - a brilliant example of what can be achieved when local and
national government work together towards a common goal.
“We will continue to work with local authorities across the
UK to improve the quality of the air we breathe.”
Nottingham’s plan will see the council improving air quality
- Retrofitting 171 buses with technology to reduce
emissions, funded through the government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund;
- Changing the age and emissions policy for Hackney
carriages and supporting an increase in low emission taxis. £1 million from
government will be used to provide a licensing discount for drivers, a taxi
rank with charging points, fund home chargers and expand the council’s ‘try
before you buy’ scheme, which started this month.
In addition, Nottingham City Council has received funding
from the government to support the conversion of its own fleet, including
replacing heavy, high polluting vehicles such as bin lorries with electric
Councillor Sally Longford, the Council’s portfolio holder
for energy and environment, said: “We worked hard on a plan that would reduce
air pollution in the shortest possible time for our citizens, and we’re
thrilled this has now been agreed, along with nearly £1 million funding for
extra measures to support taxi drivers.
“We’re looking forward to progressing these schemes to clean
up the city’s buses and taxis, building on our strong track record in improving
air quality through investment in sustainable transport, such as the electric
tram, our award-winning electric and biogas bus fleets and cycle network.
“Air pollution is a significant threat to public
health today, and road transport emissions are a big part of that. We’re
confident we can deliver our plan and go even further to improve the quality of
the air in our city.”