As you may know the clean air zone in Birmingham is getting closer to commission as the consultation finally ends (August 17th). For a lot of people, this will become an unavoidable issue as many businesses operate from the centre of Birmingham.
For those who don’t know what the low emission zone is exactly, it means that high-polluting vehicles such as; cars, lorries, vans and buses will be changed to enter Birmingham City Centre (within the A4540 middle ring road) from January 2020.
The British Government are pushing the issue to a higher importance after the series of court cases in which they lost due to the failure of meeting air quality targets. The legal safe limit for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the air is 40 micrograms per cubic metre, and the government demand that the levels be brought down to the legal limit by 2020. Obviously, pollution rates fluctuate throughout the year. However, Birmingham City Council have been able to find out the most polluted areas in Birmingham through regular monitoring. Below is a list of the ‘worst offenders’.
The following locations were found to have levels higher than 50 μg/m3 NO2. That is more than 25 per cent higher than the legal minimum safe level.
- Aston Expressway (from Aston Brook Street to Lancaster Circus)
- St Chad’s Queensway
- Great Charles Street Queensway
- Suffolk Street Queensway
- Dartmouth Middleway
- Lawley Middleway
- B4114 - next to Eastside City Park
- Newtown Street/Dale End
- Digbeth/Moat Lane gyratory
- Broad Street
Areas which were 45-50 μg/m3 NO2 (about 12 to 25per cent above legal safe limit)
- Colmore Row and district
- Temple Street/New Street
- Newhall Street, Graham Street and Vittoria Street in the Jewellery Quarter
- Curzon Street, Eastside
- Bradford Street, Digbeth
- Belgrave Middleway/Bristol Street
Areas which were 40-45 μg/m3 NO2 (just above legal safe limit)
- Bristol Street/Wrentham Street
- Sherlock Street, Highgate
- Belgrave Middleway/Haden Circus
Areas below 40 μg/m3 NO2 (within legal limit)
- Islington Row Middleway
- Ladywood Middleway
- Hagley Road/Plough and Harrow Road
- Hockley Flyover
Luckily some vehicles under certain specification will not be affected by the low emission zone. Electric and hybrid cars are not affected, nor vehicles which meet the Euro 4 emissions standard for petrol and Euro 6 standard for diesel. To find out what emission standard your vehicle is, click here. Larger vehicles such as lorries and vans have few alternatives, swapping over to electric or sending larger vehicles that give off lower emissions are the two main options, this is a minor issue for larger companies as they can afford to do this, whereas smaller companies located in the industrial areas such as Digbeth will be affected massively as previously mentioned.