Government says Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone is ‘proposed to be decommissioned’

The government has said that an an auto pay system won’t be introduced in Birmingham because the city’s clean air zone is “proposed to be decommissioned”

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The Department for Transport has said Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone is a temporary measure.

Responding to a question from Birmingham Selly Oak (Labour) MP Steve McCabe about the zone’s payment system, transport Minister Trudy Harrison said there no plans to implement an auto pay system, which would potentially make it easier to pay the fee for drivers who enter the zone.

She said: “We have not commissioned an auto pay system because the Clean Air Zone payment service is proposed to be decommissioned once compliance and a permanent improvement in air quality has been achieved.

“We have had to balance many factors in designing the Clean Air Zone payment service, including the legal imperative to act in the shortest possible time. Autopay would have added to the technical complexity.

“The Clean Air Zone Framework makes it clear that “as a minimum requirement, there must be traffic signing strategies in place along major access routes and at entry points to clearly delineate the zone, and alternative routes for those who wish to divert around it.”

“More than 300 signs have been installed by Birmingham City Council on the road network surrounding the boundary of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone to inform drivers they are approaching the zone.”

300 signs around the city mark out the new clean air zone300 signs around the city mark out the new clean air zone
300 signs around the city mark out the new clean air zone

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.

The clean air zone has been a controversial project since it was introduced in Birmingham.

Council leader Cllr Ian Ward previously apologised about the system after several drivers complained about erroneous fines to the media. In January the council also said that new checks had been put in place to protect drivers against Penalty Charge Notices being sent out in error.

And 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 in the zone.

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