'Clean air zone' plans mean diesel drivers could face charges
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Highly polluting petrol and diesel cars will be charged to use roads in the city centre from 1 June with owners of affected cars set to pay up to £9 per day. With just a few months until the new updates are launched, these are the most important things to keep an eye on.
Residents may be exempt
Those who live at an address within the Clean Air Zone will be eligible for a temporary two-year extension when the scheme is launched.
Residents must provide proof of address and vehicle ownership to apply for the extension which could save drivers hundreds of pounds.
Drivers who work in the Clean Air Zone but live outside of it can also apply for a shorter one-year exemption if they meet certain criteria.
Motorists must be the registered owner of a vehicle and must work at least 18 hours per week at a business located inside the zone.
Those given exemptions must also earn no more than £30,000 per year.
Not all cars will be charged
Only the most highly polluting models will face daily charges meaning those which meet certain requirements can still use the road without paying a penny.
Petrol models which meet Euro 4 emissions standard and diesel cars which meet Euro 6 standards will not be charged.
Electric models for plug-in hybrid models which also meet Euro standards will also be exempt.
Birmingham Council has previously said most petrol cars from 2006 onwards will be compliant with the guidelines. Diesel cars built after 2015 are also likely to be compliant.
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You won’t get a bill
Road users will not receive a letter to remind them they have entered the Clean Air Zone meaning the responsibility is solely on the drivers.
There will be around 300 signs around the Clean Air Zone to ensure road users do not miss when they are entering a charging area.
However, this rule change could still affect residents or commuters who travel the same route on a daily basis and may not notice the new signs.
Drivers must pay the charge either six days before they travel or six days after entering the zone.
Those who fail to pay the fee will be slapped with a £120 fine which could be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.
Disabled passenger vehicles are automatically exempt from paying any of the new Clean Air charge.
However, blue badge holders are not automatically exempt and will be required to pay the fee if their vehicle does not meet the regulations.
Some drivers may get help to buy a new electric car
As part of the changes, some drivers may be able to secure discounts on a range of electric vehicles.
Drivers earning less than £30,000 can take part in a vehicle scrappage scheme where they will ditch their cars in exchange for £2,000 to be used towards an electric car.
Brum Breathes also says drivers of private hire vehicles or Hackney Carriage taxis will also receive some financial benefits.
In early 2021, Birmingham City Council will also launch an electric taxi vehicle scheme which will be available for owners of Council licensed Hackney carriages.
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