No plans for clean air zones in Black Country

There are no plans to charge motorists with higher-polluting cars in the Black Country, council leaders have said after a new scheme was launched in Birmingham.

A clean air zone has come into operation in the city which sees certain vehicles charged when they enter the city centre in a bid to reduce emissions and air pollution.

Higher-polluting cars must pay £8 a day and larger vehicles £50 a day.

While the scheme aims to improve the health of residents, it has been met with criticism due to the financial impact on motorists.

Birmingham's zone was due to start on June 2 but was postponed by two weeks after numerous concerns were raised.

The leaders of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton councils confirmed there are no plans to roll out similar schemes.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: "Not while I am leader. I think it is an absolute nightmare. I think it will place an unnecessary burden on small and medium size businesses. I hope it is for the Black Country's benefit."

Walsall Council leader, Councillor Mike Bird, said: "I think what they are doing is an absolute disaster. A disaster for businesses and a disaster for travellers.

"Quite honestly, I think air pollution, while it is an issue, there has got to be more measures taken than just harrying the motorists, which is what they are doing."

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for environment at Wolverhampton Council, said: "There are currently no plans for a clean air zone in Wolverhampton and the Government does not require us to establish one. However, we take the issue very seriously, and will continue to monitor air quality in the city."

Councillor Jackie Taylor, cabinet member for transport in Sandwell, said: "Sandwell has no plans to introduce a Clean Air Zone [CAZ].

"The whole borough of Sandwell is an air quality management area, and we work with our communities and partners to use an air quality action plan to help improve air quality."

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