Coventry Clean Air Zone proposals dropped

Coventry City Council are instead to pursue improved traffic management methods in an effort to tackle air pollution in the city.

Plans for a Class D charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in parts of the city have been dropped following support from the government of alternative local proposals.

This week, the government wrote to Coventry City Council in support of their local proposals which set out a series of measures to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions, benefiting residents through cleaner air and better health.

In a letter to Council Leader, Cllr George Duggins from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Rebecca Pow MP, it reads:

“I am pleased that you have submitted updated modelling in order to meet your direction and that the Council has subsequently worked closely with my officials to refine your options…On the basis of the evidence provided, I am content that you should proceed with implementing your preferred alternative option to a charging CAZ”.

The legal direction from the government means that Coventry will need to submit a final full business case by 19 June which will feature more details on the alternate the schemes.

Ahead of the June deadline Coventry City Council has said it will hold further discussions with residents on the proposed measures.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle said that the news is excellent and that it reflected the overwhelming views of local people and businesses.

He said: “In June last year we clearly set out to the government why a CAZ would not work in Coventry and is not needed. More than six months on they have confirmed what we have always said.

 “What we all know is that it is absolutely vital that we tackle air pollution – and particularly vehicle emissions.

“We know the health risks of nitrogen dioxide and that is why we want to address this through a package of measures including highways engineering; improved traffic management; cycle routes; travel planning; upgrading bus fleet; supporting a shift to electric taxis; encouraging the uptake of electric cars; and installing more charging points.

“We have a lot to do.”

Coventry City Council has been working closely with the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit throughout and has consistently argued against a CAZ.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle added: “This is excellent news and means any CAZ that would have been imposed – affecting 82,000 residents or 25 per cent of our residents – has been stopped.  

“A CAZ in Coventry would have potentially created worse air quality on many residential roads bordering the charging zone as drivers would have sought alternative routes to avoid the CAZ.”

Alternate schemes being considered to tackle air pollution in the city include:

  • Capacity improvements on the B4106 through Spon End and Junction 7 of the Ring Road, including improved routes for pedestrians and cyclists;
  • Opening Upper Hill Street onto the Ring Road, giving left in/left out access to the Ring Road via the clockwise on-slip road at Junction 8 and allowing Barras Lane to be closed;
  • Closure of Barras Lane between the A4114 Holyhead Road and Coundon Road/Upper Hill Street allowing the removal of the signals at the Barras Lane / Holyhead Road junction;
  • Reducing the number of polluting vehicles by introducing restrictions on the eastern section of the A4114 Holyhead Road on the approach to Junction 8;
  • Construction of a segregated cycle route linking Coundon with the city centre along Coundon Road and Upper Hill Street;
  • Engagement initiative (travel planning) for schools, businesses and communities along Holyhead Road Corridor;
  • Banning the right turn from Cash’s Lane onto Foleshill Road
  • HGV ban on part of Foleshill Road;
  • Assigning electric buses to Foleshill Road.

Coventry has been awarded grant funding of £24.5m to implement the above schemes.