Response to claims that Birmingham City Council is planning to introduce a congestion charge.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr John Clancy, explained: “There are no proposals in the Business Plan and Budget for a congestion charge. However we are committed to Government plans for a Clean Air Zone. This does not apply to private cars.
“A number of options were considered at an earlier stage of the budget process but it was made clear as we launched the consultation in December that a congestion charge was not being proposed.
“We have to take action on the Clean Air Zone by 2020 or face significant fines from Government, which could be upwards of £60 million.
“So a steering group for the Clean Air Zone will be chaired by Cllr Lisa Trickett and recommendations will then be brought forward.”
The key points to consider around the development of a clean air zone in Birmingham:
- A Clean Air Zone has been ordered in Birmingham and other cities by the Government, to ensure it meets EU air quality targets following a case brought by environmental campaigners.
- This is not therefore a so-called “congestion charge” brought forward by the city council.
- The city council has repeatedly ruled out imposing a congestion charge on motorists after previous misleading suggestions it was planning to do so.
- The zones in Birmingham and elsewhere will NOT apply to private vehicle users (taxis, buses and other vehicles will fall within the scope of the proposal).
- If air quality issues are not addressed, the Government faces hefty fines (believed to be in the millions of Pounds), that could then be passed on to the relevant local councils
- A full programme of data capture will be carried out by the city council as part of a comprehensive scoping study to understand more about the types of vehicles travelling in and out of the city, so the extent of the area covered by any future Clean Air Zone is appropriate to ensure air quality targets are met. This will not lead to any fines or charges, it is simply to ensure the zone is the right one.
- The savings outlined in the Business Plan and Budget 2016+ will now be realised by a combination of measures designed to reduce reliance on car trips and improve air quality. NOT a congestion charge.
- We will work on a cross-party basis to look at the best way to make future savings in this area.