Over the past few years the Government have been attempting to tackle the UK’s rising air pollution, focusing on some of the more problem areas in the UK, including Nottingham. In 2015 the city was one of five ordered to explore the need for a Clean Air Zone, banning vehicles that weren’t environmentally-friendly from entering certain parts of the city. Though this hasn’t gone ahead (yet), what can Nottingham do to reduce their levels of nitrogen dioxide in the area?
Nottingham’s Air Quality Plan
Nottingham City Council ran a consultation from early August until the middle of September, with results sculpting the council’s final Local Plan. Though we have seen a few of these ideas become reality in the recent months, in an effort to avoid needing a Clean Air Zone potentially damaging the tourism trade of the city.
We’ve already seen a few of these implemented in the past few months. Notably in the public transport sector of Nottingham. As well as the recent Enviro200EV electric buses that have been servicing the local area, there’s also been modifications to 180 buses to ensure they produce cleaner emissions than modern diesel vehicles.
Stricter requirements are set to come in to place on taxi drivers, aiming at increasing short-term results rather than a flat out ban on them in city centres. The Council hope by improving the emissions of public transport it will allow tenants or tourists to leave their cars at home and prevent further pollution of the city centre.
Nottingham’s Revised Clear Zone
Proposals are also in place to revise and possibly strengthen the requirements of the centre’s Clear Zone. From expanding the troubled area to extending the period of time which it’s operated on, the Clear Zone could be crucial in lowering emissions and providing a better experience for the residents of Nottingham.
The Clear Zone already provides an area of the centre where only electric trams and electric busses can travel in to, though the reduction of pollution is still such a priority amongst the council. This is different to a Clean Air Zone, as the parameters of this would be under Nottingham City Council’s control.
What Can Nottingham Do To Further Reduce Emissions?
Though there’s still more that could, and should, be done by the Council to ensure the local emissions get lowered. These include options such as:
- Fines and penalties for running engines – people often tend to park up on the side of the road but leave the engine to their vehicle running. This is completely unnecessary and adds to the emission total despite the passengers of the vehicle getting no further on their journey. Harsh fines would help to prevent this, especially in built-up areas.
- Increased cycle infrastructure – though we’ve seen improvements made in recent years, more can still be done to encourage local residents to take to two wheels instead of four. Enhancing cycle lanes and adding them to popular routes across the city is only going to help matters. Not only will this lower emission but could also increase the healthiness of Nottingham, easing pressure on local health services.
- Embrace electric vehicles – though a city filled with electric-only vehicles seems a way off, Nottingham can push ahead by providing the infrastructure to support it. More access to electric charging points will encourage locals to make the switch to the eco-friendly vehicles.
What Will Nottingham’s Emissions Mean For Businesses?
The consequences if Nottingham is forced to add a Clean Air Zone could be quite severe. It could affect businesses receiving their deliveries, tradesmen getting from job to job efficiently and foot-traffic for high street shops. So you can understand the Council’s stance to ensure the control is in their hands.
Fees could be put in place for the likes of delivery vehicles, which may need to enter Clean Air Zones to deliver goods. Though this could drive up costs for deliveries and cause a larger economic issue with businesses in the nearby area. Tradesmen’s routes could become longer and less convenient, allowing for jobs per day which could turn into higher hourly rates. Though the CAZ may be good for emissions, it could wreak havoc for local companies.
So, what will come first, the electrical vehicle revolution to delivery drivers and tradesmen or enforced Clean Air Zones? We hope it’s the former.
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