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East Midlands Chamber News

Just over two weeks left to sway council's clean air strategy

Businesses and residents in Derby have a little more than two weeks left to steer the city council's future clean air initiatives.

The council has tabled three options by which it could meet Government demands to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions in the city centre.

The first, which is favoured by the council and has an estimated cost of between £20m and £30m, focuses on changing traffic signals and rerouting vehicles away from Stafford Street, which has been identified as an area where NOX levels exceed EU guidelines.

This would be combined with a very specific incentive scheme to rapidly support change of vehicles - a localised scrappage scheme to encourage the purchase of cleaner cars , vans and lorries.

It would include initiatives to implement electric vehicle power points and continue to support sustainable travel, through the e-bike scheme, investment in cycle route upgrades and promoting walking.

A second option, which would cost about £30m to implement, would see the introduction of a chargeable clean air zone, effectively a congestion charge-style toxin tax area for cars and lorries that need to drive inside the inner ring road.

Lorries could be charged up to £100 and cars up to £20 every time the cross designated boundaries. Drivers of older diesel vehicles would be the most likely to be hit hardest.

This scheme would  involve some minor traffic signal changes. There would need to be an incentive scheme to support change of vehicles.  This scheme would also be supported by sustainable travel measures

The third option on the table is for a chargeable clean air zone within the outer ring road.

This option would cost about £60m to install and would mean charges of £100 for lorries and £20 for cars to drive inside the outer ring road boundary.

Some version of the measures in option two would also be required as part of the full package.

The Chamber is on record as saying it would prefer the carrot of a properly organised scrappage scheme to the stick of a toxin tax that would penalise vehicle users who might not be able to afford to replace older cars, vans and lorries or who bought diesel cars on the Government's recommendation.

The consultation will close at midnight on Monday 24 September.

The best way to respond to this consultation is online at www.derby.gov.uk/transport-and-streets/air-quality-in-derby/tackling-poor-air-quality/public-consultation/.