Plans to charge polluting cars entering Birmingham through Clean Air Zone postponed

The introduction of Birmingham's Clean Air Zone has been postponed once again until next year, it has been confirmed.

Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council.
Councillor Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council.

Council leader Ian Ward, at a meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), said the council was aiming to introduce the charge in the summer of 2021 – though no official date has yet been confirmed.

This is the third time in under a year that the introduction has been postponed. Back in February the council announced that the launch date had been pushed back to the summer due to issues with the government’s vehicle checker, while in March the council wrote to the Government asking for a further delay until at least 2021 due to the impact of Covid-19.

When introduced, the charge will see high-polluting cars charged £8-a-day and buses and lorries charged £50 to enter the city centre.

A spokesperson for the council confirmed that the launch was now planned for next summer, while adding that an announcement would be made on the new date "within weeks".

And this was backed by Councillor Ward, who said that meetings with the Government are due to take place over the next few weeks to decide upon an official date.

"The Clean Air Zone would have become live in January of this year, but it was originally delayed because of the number plate checker, in order that people could check whether their car was compliant or not," he said.

"The government had undertaken to get that system up and running and they failed to meet the deadline, so that was the first delay.

"When we got then into late spring, the lockdown from the Covid outbreak meant that there was then a further delay.

"Since then we’ve had a meeting with two government ministers to discuss the timing for the introduction of the zone. We’re looking at summer of next year, but the exact date is yet to be confirmed.

"There’s a subsequent meeting with the two ministers where we’re hoping to nail down the actual date, and as soon as we’ve done that we will make an announcement."

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