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Bristol drops diesel-free plan after lockdown led to lower traffic


Bristol drops diesel-free plan after lockdown led to lower traffic and lifestyle changes meaning ban on high-polluting vehicles may not be needed

  • The city suffers with high levels of air pollution caused by nitrogen dioxide
  • It had been told to take drastic action in order to achieve legal air quality levels 
  • But Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, has now said these steps may not be necessary

Bristol has dropped its diesel-free plan after lockdown led to lower traffic and lifestyle changes which meant a ban on high-polluting vehicles might not be needed.

The city, which suffers high levels of air pollution caused by nitrogen dioxide, had been told by the government to take drastic action in order to achieve legal air quality levels.

It had planned to implement congestion charges and bans on high-polluting vehicles but Bristol’s mayor has now said these steps may not be necessary.  

Bristol (pictured before lockdown) has dropped its diesel-free plan after lockdown led to lower traffic and lifestyle changes which meant a ban on high-polluting vehicles might not be needed

Bristol (pictured before lockdown) has dropped its diesel-free plan after lockdown led to lower traffic and lifestyle changes which meant a ban on high-polluting vehicles might not be needed 

Elected mayor Marvin Rees said changes to work and travel patterns caused by Covid-19 had already helped improve the air quality.

He added: ‘If we can maintain the best of those changes… we believe we will be able to pursue a plan to get us the compliance in the shortest possible time in a way that doesn’t actually charge individuals and businesses.

‘That would be the best of all worlds. If we can get to compliance without further compounding their economic woes that would be the best for Bristol.’

A final decisions surrounding the plans are expected ‘early in 2021’.

Mr Rees also stated that he would be introducing ‘sustainable transport, walking and cycle routes’ as well as ‘accelerating’ plans to pedestrianise part of the city. 

Bristol had been set to be the UK’s first city to ban private diesel cars from entering parts of the city centre in an attempt to cut air pollution. 

During peak commuting times Bristol (past seven days pictured) has seen a significant drop off in traffic taking to the road as many continue to work from home

During peak commuting times Bristol (past seven days pictured) has seen a significant drop off in traffic taking to the road as many continue to work from home

It had planned to implement congestion charges and bans on high-polluting vehicles but Bristol's mayor has now said these steps may not be necessary (stock image)

It had planned to implement congestion charges and bans on high-polluting vehicles but Bristol’s mayor has now said these steps may not be necessary (stock image)

The comments come as data continues to show plummeting levels of congestion across the country.

During peak commuting times Bristol itself has seen a significant drop off in traffic taking to the road as many continue to work from home.

Today, for example, Bristol saw just 33 per cent congestion on its roads at 5pm. 

This figure for the same time last year was recorded at more than double with 70 per cent clogging up roadways, according to figures by TomTom.

And this is a trend that has continued throughout the country with all major cities, including the capital, seeing a marked reduction.

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