Public back extra charges for polluting cars

More than half of the British public supports the idea of charging more polluting cars to enter parts of towns and cities, according to a new survey.

The YouGov polling, commissioned by the campaigning group ClientEarth, also showed that almost three quarters of the British public think the UK automotive industry should help fund efforts to clean up the country’s illegal levels of air pollution.

In Germany, car manufacturers are contributing a quarter of a billion euros to a clean air fund.

ClientEarth will face the UK government again in the High Court on 25 January in an attempt to force more urgent action to clean up the air.

This is the group’s third legal action against the government since legal limits came into effect in 2010.

The previous two forced some progress, with the government being ordered to produce new plans to bring down air pollution. However, ClientEarth will argue that the latest plans, released last summer, should be supplemented as they don’t meet the legal requirement to bring air pollution within legal limits as soon as possible.

‘People are more aware than ever of the harm air pollution is causing to them and their children and they want to see action,’ said ClientEarth’s spokesperson, Simon Alcock.

‘The government’s own evidence shows that a national network of charging clean air zones would be the most effective way to bring down illegal and toxic levels of air pollution.’

Last month, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council published the preliminary public consultation results on their plans to introduce a zero emission zone in Oxford city centre.

The two local authorities are looking to ban ‘pollution emitting vehicles’ from the city centre in phases, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020 and, as vehicle technology develops, moving to all vehicles across the whole city in 2035.

The overwhelming majority (90%) of those who responded to the online consultation said tackling poor air quality in Oxford is either ‘very important’ or ‘important’.

Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone


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