News / Environment

City council misses third government deadline on clean air plan

By martin booth, Monday Sep 30, 2019

Bristol City Council has still not submitted their plans for a clean air zone, despite a government minister threatening legal action in July if a deadline of September 30 was not met.

On the day of the deadline, the council revealed that it has received an extension of five weeks to submit further plans on how it will bring the city into line with national nitogen dioxide legal limits by 2025.

An outline business case for a clean air zone is now due to to be presented to a meeting of Marvin Rees’ cabinet on November 5.

The Bristol mayor said: “We are continuing to take measures to improve both our air quality and our response to climate change.

“We remain committed to reaching nitrogen dioxide compliance as part of our work on air quality in the shortest time possible and this delay to the process does not set back either the implementation or compliance dates.

“At the same time however, we must ensure all impacts are considered and that mitigation measures are targeted to support those most affected, including the impacts on the most deprived communities.

“We also want to be certain that our ambitious clean air plans are fully scoped, have a strong evidence base to support them, and take into account the thoughts of our citizens.”

Research estimates that 300 people each year in Bristol die prematurely because of dirty air, compared to just 12 in traffic accidents.

Lin Dem mayoral candidate Mary Page said: “This should have been a day one plan for the Labour mayor, but instead we have seen denial, delay and potentially more deaths.

“An extra month’s delay is an extra 25 lives at risk. It is unacceptable that this administration continues to break national and European rules around clean air and it is Bristolians in the poorest parts of our city who are suffering the most.”

Green mayoral candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven said that “no deaths should happen in our city due to things we can change”.

He said: “It is not acceptable for Bristol to keep pushing back the issue of our air quality crisis. The mayor continues to avoid decisions that actually improve our environment. His actions fall well short of the rhetoric of his words.”

Read more: City council could face legal action if clean air plans not put in place

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