Car tax changes: Petrol and diesel owners to face £8 per day fee from next Tuesday

Birmingham: Clean Air Zone signs seen across the city

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The new charge will introduce daily fees for some of the most polluting vehicles on the road if they enter the city centre. The scheme was set to launch in January but was delayed after issues with the vehicle checking software.

It will now launch from Tuesday June 1 with fees payable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Drivers will be forced to pay £8 per day or more if they enter the Zone with heavily polluting petrol and diesel cars.

The new scheme will launch on roads within the A540 Middleway which covers much of Birmingham’s main city centre.

The scheme is being introduced to help the city meet its air pollution targets and change behaviour around emissions.

It is hoped the project will encourage people to take public transport or use their bicycles for short journeys.

The scheme has been met with some opposition for locals who warn the project could have negative effects for the city.

Many hospitality businesses want the scheme delayed more until they get back on their feet from the pandemic.

Taxi drivers have described the scheme as crippling for their trade while many have warned public transport would need massive improvements before any charge is introduced.

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Councillor Waseem Zaffar said the scheme has been “delayed too long” and would need to launch on June 1.

He said: “Back in 2017 the Conservative Government issued us with a directive to bring down levels of nitrous oxide (mostly generated by vehicle fumes) to a maximum average of 40μg/m3 (40 parts per cubic metre) as soon as possible.

“We looked at a range of options but ultimately we needed to act quickly.

“Birmingham’s air makes us the most polluted city outside London.

“A charging Clean Air Zone is the best option to bring about rapid change.”

Birmingham Council has confirmed there will be some “short term exemptions” in place to help those affected by the new charge.

These will apply to residents, workers, commercial vehicles and community vehicles.

Other exceptions will also be available for specialist vehicles, community and school transport, disabled vehicles and some classic cars.

Drivers need to apply for a temporary exemption permit online but Birmingham Council has warned exemptions received after 24 May are unlikely to be approved before the scheme launches.

Drivers who own polluting models can earn money for ditching their cars under a new Vehicle Scrappage Scheme launched earlier this month.

The £10million project aims to help people working in the Clean Air Zone who earn less than £30,000.

In return for scrapping their cars, successful applicants will receive a £2,000 grant which can be used to purchase a compliant vehicle or on public transport services.

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