How Will Clean Air Zones Improve Our Lives?
24th November 2021
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Back in the summer of 1956, The Clean Air Act of 1956 was passed by royal assent. The aim of which was to tackle the smog and air pollution created by the burning of coal and industrial activities, and prompted by the Great Smog, which fell over the city of London in December 1952, killing an estimated 12,000 people.
While the country has not seen an acute event like this since, there have been growing concerns in the past decade that the level of pollution in the air, especially in UK cities, is causing serious health issues for their inhabitants.
Health issues caused by air pollution
Exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of health issues. Air pollution increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, and lung cancer, with short- and long-term exposure to air pollutants causing several health problems. These health issues affect people with existing medical conditions, children, the elderly, and poor people more seriously. In fact, it’s thought that around 40,000 deaths in Britain each year are linked to air pollution.
What are the main pollutants?
Many substances can affect air quality, with the 5 most damaging pollutants being:
Particulate matter (PM or PM2.5)
Particulate matter is everything in the air that isn’t gas. This includes natural sources like pollen, sea spray, and desert dust. It also includes human-made sources like smoke and dust from exhausts, brakes, and tyres. The main sources of particulate matter are:
- 38% from burning wood and coal in domestic open fires and solid fuel stoves
- 12% from road transport
- 13% from solvent use and industrial processes
- 16% from industrial combustion (non-domestic burning)
The largest source of NH3 emissions is agriculture, including animal farming and fertilizer applications, as well as include industrial processes, and vehicles emission.
Nitrogen oxide (NOx)
Nitrogen oxides are a group of gases that are mainly created from burning fossil fuels. When the gas reacts with others in the air, it can create nitrogen dioxide (NO2). It also creates ozone (O3). The main causes of this in the UK are:
- 35% from road transport
- 22% from energy generation
- 19% from industrial combustion
- 17% from other transport, such as rail and shipping
Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
Sulphur dioxide is an acidic gas that can combine with water vapour in the atmosphere to produce acid rain. Sulphur dioxide is an irritant that can affect airways, particularly in those who have asthma. Sources of sulphur dioxide include:
- 37% from energy generation
- 22% from industrial combustion
- 22% from domestic burning
Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCS)
Non-methane volatile organic compounds are organic molecules, which include such compounds as benzene, xylene, propane, and butane. The main sources of NMVOCS are:
- 54% from industrial emissions
- 14% from agriculture
- 8% from domestic and industrial combustion
- 5% from transport
What are clean air zones, and how will they reduce air pollution?
The Clean Air Strategy of 2019 introduced the idea of “clean air zones” or CAZ, to help reduce the level of air pollutants in UK cities. Clean air zones are areas where targeted action is required to improve air quality and resources are prioritised and coordinated to health and economic growth.
Travel into these zones will be affected by charges to discourage drivers of the most polluting vehicles to enter.
By restricting the most polluting vehicles from entering the worst affected areas, the Clean Air Zones are projected to deliver an average 18% reduction in NO2 and could prevent at least 1% of deaths in those cities’ populations.
Where are clean air zones being launched?
There are several cities throughout the UK that have or will implement clean air zones.
Future Clean Air Zones
- Bradford will start charging in 2022.
- Greater Manchester will start charging on 30 May 2022.
- Portsmouth will start charging on 29 November 2021.
More cities will implement Clean Air Zones in 2022 which include:
The above launch dates are subject to change, updated information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/driving-in-a-clean-air-zone
Which vehicles are affected?
Each city/local authority will differ slightly in the handling of the clean air zones; however, the government has created 4 classes of clean air zones, from A to D.
Class Vehicle type
A Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles
B Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles
C Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses
D Buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars, the local authority has the option to include motorcycles
Bath has a Class C Clean Air Zone, and Birmingham has a Class D Clean Air Zone.
To avoid being charged in a Clean Air Zone, your vehicle must meet the following minimum standard:
Vehicle type Clean Air Zone minimum standard
Buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles Euro VI
Vans, minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, cars Euro 6 (diesel) and Euro 4 (petrol)
Motorcycles Euro 3
Local authorities may set a different standard for taxis and private hire vehicles, so it is recommended that you check with your local authority for more information.
What has Anglo Scottish got to do with clean air zones?
To help with the transition to a Clean Air Zone, Anglo Scottish have partnered with local authorities to facilitate financial assistance for limited companies, charities, sole traders, and partnerships to replace existing non-compliant vehicles with a new equivalent that meets the emission standards.
Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, organisations can receive a grant towards the new vehicle and benefit from interest-free financing on a hire purchase agreement through us.
If you live or work in one of the areas designated as a clean air zone, and you wish to apply for financial assistance, you should in the first instance, contact your local authority. Most councils are asking anyone who drives in clean air zones to check whether their vehicle will be charged in the zone using the GOV.UK vehicle checker.
If the vehicle is subject to charges, those who drive regularly in the zone should check the terms of the financial scheme and obtain an eligibility letter from the relevant local authorities.
Once evidence of eligibility has been received, you can obtain a quote or start your application for grant-supported and interest-free financing.
Please note, each local authority will have its own procedures and eligibility, so it is always best to check with them directly.
In addition to offering support with financial agreements, Anglo Scottish’s vehicle sourcing team are also on hand to help you find the perfect, CAZ-compliant vehicle to meet your needs. Simply contact the team and let them know what it is you’re looking for.
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