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7th Dec, 2021

Birmingham City Council announces 'soft launch' for Clean Air Zone meaning people won't be charged in first fortnight

Tristan Harris 1st Jun, 2021 Updated: 1st Jun, 2021

A DECISION has been taken by Birmingham City Council to ‘soft launch’ the Second City’s Clean Air Zone, meaning people will not be charged for entering the zone for the next two weeks.

The news came amidst some drivers claiming they could not get the payment system to work.

The authority’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council, Coun Waseem Zaffar MBE has said: “Whilst we have agreed on a two-week soft launch period where people won’t have to pay, I would encourage everyone to use this time to check their vehicles, familiarise themselves with the charging process and check out the support that is still available through the Brum Breathes website.”

On the scheme itself he added: “After more than two years of planning, I’m delighted to launch Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone.

“This is a bold move that will help to address some significant health inequalities in our city.

“This is also an important step in encouraging people to re-think how we all move around the city.

I’m confident this initiative will save lives, and provide a cleaner, greener, safer space for our communities in a part of our city that has a problem with poor air quality.”

But the Clean Air Zone has come under fire from Northfield MP Gary Sambrook and West Bromwich’s Nicola Richards who wrote an open letter to the city council leader Ian Ward.

They said the zone, originally set to launch in 2020 but delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, has been delayed again due to issues with the payment system.

The pair are also unhappy about the impact the charges will have on their constituents.

Mr Sambrook said: “The city council didn’t organise the payment system for the clean air zone until two weeks ago – and it’s still not ready.

“So, on the day it is supposed to launch they have been forced into not accepting payments for another two weeks.

“Thank God this lot aren’t in charge of a brewery…”

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