Campaign launched to end Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone charges
The Clean Air Zone has been introduced to tackle poor air quality in the city responsible for a reported 900 deaths per year, but many feel that the charges are unfair
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More than 1,500 people have joined a campaign to end Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charges.
A Facebook group, named Campaign against Birmingham Clean Air Zone Charges, has been set up by those who want the city council to reverse the decision to charge people to drive inside the Middle Ring Road.
The Facebook page currently has more than 1,500 members with many sharing stories of issues with the Clean Air Zone.
One member wrote: “CAZ is most unpopular tax since the poll tax. It should be taken back.”
Another person wrote: “I received two CAZ fixed penalty charges back in December following a night out in the Jewellery Quarter.
“The first was on entering at around 8.30pm and second was when leaving at around 1.30a.m.
“Despite not seeing signs or being made aware of the CAZ I decided to pay the first charge but have appealed the second on the basis the system is unfair.
“In my view, one visit should trigger a maximum of one charge, irrespective of how long you’re in the zone for.”
People from Manchester who are against a clean air zone being set up in their city have also shown support.
Another person wrote on the Campaign Against Birmingham Clean Air Zone charges Facebook page: “Another member from Manchester. We stand by your side as this is daylight robbery of the working class.”
What are the charges?
Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone covers all the roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road, but not the Middleway itself.
No vehicle is banned in the zone, but those which do not meet the emissions standards for the zone have to pay a daily charge if they travel within the area.
The charges are £8 a day for cars, vans and taxis, or £50 a day for HGVs and coaches.
A ‘day’ is classified as midnight to midnight, not 24 hours from when you enter the zone.
During that midnight to midnight time frame, you can enter and leave the zone numerous times and only incur a single charge. However if you cross the midnight threshold you will be charged for two days.
New checks have also now been put in place on Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone technology used to send out Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) following a series of incorrect fines.
Following a meeting the authority has advised that it has taken a series of measures to limit issues around incorrect Clean Air Zone PCNs being issued .
What has Birmingham City Council said about the charges?
The city council says the government expects Birmingham, and a number of other cities, to introduce Clean Air Zones to improve poor air pollution.
Birmingham City Council said the pricing structure is “consistent with the other Clean Air Zones and low emission zones in England.”
A Birmingham City Council spokeswoman, said: “The plans for Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone were the subject of an extensive public consultation in 2018 and there was a large-scale communications campaign prior to its launch to help raise awareness amongst drivers.
“There is a clear process for anyone who wishes to challenge a Penalty Charge Notice which they believe has been issued incorrectly. The Penalty Charge Notice makes clear the grounds for a challenge and the council has published a policy that sets out how it exercises discretion when reviewing all representations it receives.”
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