Executive Travel & Sightseeing

Ban Diesel Cars from Bristol?

We all know the air quality in Bristol needs to improve, for our health and for the environment.

But are we all willing to sacrifice driving diesel-powered cars to make that happen?

This week, the European Court of Justice effectively ordered the UK Government to meet high air quality standards as soon as possible.

The Government made a promise in 2010 that it would work towards meeting them, in order to save the lungs of city-dwellers and their children.

Until now, ministers have been insisting that they would not reach these new standards before 2025 in Bristol.

They would also need that long to meet them in Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Nottingham, and Southampton, while London, Birmingham and Leeds would have to wait until the 2030s.

 The new demands in Europe this week came after not-for-profit group Client Earth won a ruling enabling it to pursue the UK Government for breaches of EU air quality standards in the Supreme Court.

It brought a legal suit to force the Government to meet its nitrogen dioxide targets, and Europe will now decide how those targets are going to be reached.

 The European Environment Agency also reported this week that nearly 40,000 people die every year from inhaling tiny but dangerous airborne particles.

But the largest sources of nitrogen dioxide pollution are diesel vehicles, which successive governments have encouraged because they emit slightly less carbon dioxide than petrol-driven ones.

 As a result, a third of us now drive them – and they account for more than half the new cars sold each year.

Any clean-up strategy will now have to focus on diesel cars – with commuters in Bristol and other cities potentially being financially penalised for driving them in city centres.

 The Mayor of London has announced that, from 2020, all but the very cleanest diesel cars will have to pay £12.50 a day on top of the existing £11.50 congestion charge to enter the city centre.

The Supreme Court will make a final ruling next year about what plans the UK should be forced to put in place to meet its targets.


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