Bristol's clean air zone: Start date less than a week away after pollution reach illegal levels

  • Watch Louisa Britton's report

After long delays to the scheme, Bristol's clean air zone is set to begin next Monday (28 November).

From then, it will apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week - affecting an estimated 75,000 drivers a day.

The zone has been brought in because Bristol currently has illegal levels of air pollution, which experts say is accountable for hundreds of deaths here every year.

Dr  Jonathan  Monk-Cunliffe said: "At the moment Bristol's air is killing us, we've got really high levels of toxic air pollutants that make us sick and shorten our lives.

"These toxic air pollutants effect our bodies in many different ways, lead to lung disease, heart disease, cancers and strokes so it's really important that we can bring those levels down to improve everybody's health."

The air above Bristol has illegal levels of pollution according to data from Bristol City Council

The zone does not cover the whole city, but drivers passing through the area could have to pay a charge.

These apply to older vehicles such as petrol cars more than 16 years old and diesel cars more than 7 years old.

When crossing into the zone, private cars older than this will be charged £9 a day. Taxis will also pay £9 as will older Light Goods Vehicles.

HGVs over 3 and a half tonnes will pay £100 as will buses and coaches.

Residents in central Bristol agreed with the need to tackle air pollution, although some were sceptical of the zone's ability to reduce levels enough.

One commented: "I live at the top of Whiteladies Road and on days when we haven't had wind or rain you look out over the city and you can see the pollution haze, we should be doing something about that. I feel very strongly."

Another disagreed, saying: "A clean air zone, no because that's pushing the cars further out and then you've got all the congestion in the back streets."

The scheme has not been without controversy. Justyna Kowalska set up a petition opposing the zone - so far more than 1,500 people have signed it.

She said: "What works better motivation or punishment, everyone can clearly answer that question to themselves because in our opinion those charges are nothing else than punishing people."

She believes it will displace the traffic instead of reducing it.

Justyna added:"The only way around the clean air zone is to go via streets and roads like one of these, where there is plenty of houses. tThat will actually cause more traffic."