A group ofUK political leaders are championing more funding from the government to tackleair pollution, investing in new and existing Clean Air Zones (CAZs) that canimprove the health of communities in inner cities and towns.
The campaignfor fresh investment in 30 CAZs throughout the UK has intensified since thepublication of a report from UK100, demonstrating that towns and citiesnationwide could benefit economically to the tune of £6.5 billion by tacklingillegal air pollution levels.
The UK100proposals include incentivising small businesses with between £2,000 and £6,000to upgrade their existing fleet vehicles or to move to greener modes oftransport such as electric vehicles (EVs).
PollyBillington, director, UK100, said that the organisation’s latest study“demonstrates” that cleaner air “in our towns and cities” makes “sound economicsense”.
“Sensibleinvestment by national government is needed to support local authorities totake the most polluting vehicles off our roads while ensuring that the poorestin our towns and cities are not the hardest hit by pollution and measures totackle it,” added Billington.
Sadiq Khan,the Mayor of London, also warned the UK government that the capital is unableto deliver additional CAZs “without urgent government funding”.
Mr Khan saidthat his “bold action” to bring an end to “lethal air in the capital” led tothe creation of the Ultra Low Emission Zone, the UK’s inaugural CAZ.
“Thisfunding must include a new national vehicle renewal scheme, which would helpbusinesses and residents prepare for London’s ULEZ expansion in 2021,” addedKhan.
CouncillorWaseem Zaffar, member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council,agrees with Mr Khan that the government needs to get “serious” about tacklingair pollution levels in towns and cities.
Mr Zaffarbelieves the government should fund a “national scrappage scheme” to supportcities across the UK in “implementing their own Clean Air Zones”.
“We have toensure that those with the most polluting vehicles are able to make the switchto a cleaner, greener replacement as quickly and as smoothly as possible,”added Zaffar.
Both WaseemZaffar and Polly Billington will be pushing the case for CAZs at the upcomingSmart Transport Conference this month. The pair are among several key speakersat the event, which brings together a host of public policymakers and privatesector firms keen to encourage greener, sustainable transport for fleets anddomestic drivers nationwide.