1. ITV Report

Drivers in Coventry could face charges for Clean Air Zone

Credit: ITV Central

The Government has ordered Coventry City Council to start charging motorists to enter the city, in a bid to meet clean air targets.

Cars, taxis, buses and lorries could all face a fee to drive into the Clean Air Zone.

The demand comes after the city council's £83million plan to cut pollution was rejected by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Instead, they have directed the council to implement a Class D clean air zone "as soon as possible" - an outcome previously described as "economically disastrous" for Coventry.

The 'Class D' measure, similar Birmingham's clean air zone, would lead to charges for buses, coaches, taxis, PHVs, HGVs LGVs and cars whose engines are not clean enough.

Coventry City Council will now have just weeks left to revise their plan, having been set a deadline of June 14 to respond.

Credit: ITV Central

Coventry City Council has accused the Government of using a 'heavy handed tactic'.

The government have sat on their hands on the issue of air pollution and they're handing the responsibility to local authorities up and down the country."

"They haven't properly respond to our plans that we had put forward.

"There's no point using heavy handed tactics without any clear rationale. Our local plan is all evidence based, we can demonstrate that we can reduce nitrogen oxide levels in the areas of the most concern and I can't see how a charging zone would reduce emissions any quicker.

"They are asking us to make every arterial road in the city part of a charging zone and that's completely unacceptable. I don't think they understand that in Coventry a Clean Air Zone would end up being a series of fragmented zones that would potentially bring the whole city to a standstill - without offering any real long term solutions for the city."

– Councillor Jim O'Boyle

DEFRA says air pollution is a significant threat to public health:

Air pollution is a significant threat to public health which is why the Government is already taking ambitious action to tackle it.

"Our new Clean Air Strategy, which the World Health Organisation praise as "an example for the rest of the world to follow', is the most ambitious air quality strategy in a generation and aims to halve the harm to human health from air pollution in the UK by 2030."

– DEFRA statement