For immediate release: Tuesday 18 June 2019
Leeds and Birmingham were due to have Clean Air Zones in force by January 2020 but today the councils have announced that these will need to be postponed. This is because they were expecting a vehicle checker tool to help them assess which polluting vehicles would need to pay a charge in October. The tool, which is being delivered by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), will not be available until ‘at least’ December 2019.
Responding to the news, Joe Farrington-Douglas, Head of Policy at Asthma UK, says:
“It is utterly unacceptable that people in Birmingham are continuing to breathe in toxic air. Air pollution is a major health hazard, especially for the 100,000 people in Birmingham with asthma* as it can trigger life-threatening asthma attacks. With evidence showing air pollution has contributed to hospitalisations and even deaths, delays in cleaning up our air could have dire consequences.
“The introduction of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London has been a step in the right direction to tackle filthy air but it is high time that local and national government protect those outside the capital through similar schemes.”
Notes to editor:
*112,000 people in Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell CCGs are treated for asthma - QOF data