Campaign aims to cut pollution
LIBERAL Democrat councillor Mark Wright has launched a campaign to cut pollution in the heart of Bristol.
He said his Cabot ward which covers most of the city centre, bore the brunt of the city's soaring air pollution levels – even though more people walk to work and fewer of them drive.
Councillor Wright, pictured, said: "Bristol has some of the highest city cycling rates in the country. Yet it's cyclists who get to breathe in the worst of Bristol's poor quality air."
He will be calling at a full council meeting today for a Low Emission Zone to be set up in the city centre.
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It would mean users of the most polluting vehicles, mainly buses and lorries, would have to pay a fee on entering a cordon around Bristol, or an area of Bristol, encouraging them to upgrade older vehicles to newer, cleaner models, thus improving air quality.
Councillor Wright said: "I suggest the LEZ would be like the one in London, except that it would only target the most polluting vehicles over a certain tonnage, and so would generally only affect older buses and lorries.
"Users of those vehicles would have to pay a fee to enter the LEZ cordon, which could either be drawn around the whole city (as in London) or just the central areas.
"The daily fee for non-compliant vehicles for the London LEZ starts at around £100 per day for buses and lorries.
"Bristol's level would be set independently of that, based on local factors, and would probably be a bit cheaper."
The Government is already talking about the possibility of introducing an LEZ in Bristol.
But Councillor Wright said the issue was not being given the priority it deserved.
He said exploration of the idea was only in a list of supplementary recommendations at one of the council's scrutiny commission meetings.
Dr Wright said: "This contains no sense of urgency or certainty. I fear that it will not be taken forward with any vigour, and will therefore fall by the wayside."