Birmingham’s clean air zone (CAZ) initiative, which levies charges on high-polluting vehicles, has led to spiralling costs for local businesses. The Telegraph has the story.
The clean air zone in Birmingham is piling extra costs onto small businesses, local entrepreneurs have claimed, as the backlash against Labour’s anti-pollution policies grows.
Since 2021, the most-polluting vehicles which travel into Birmingham city centre must pay £8 per day, with coaches and lorries charged £50.
The zone is similar to London’s ultra-low emissions zone (Ulez) which was launched by mayor Sadiq Khan in 2019, and will be expanded this month.
Business owners in Birmingham told the BBC that the CAZ had increased their costs.
One resident said: “I ordered something to my shop, first question they asked me was if I was in the zone or out – once you say I’m inside the taxing zone, they’re going to add £8 to your delivery.”
Karen Woolley, of the Federation of Small Businesses in the West Midlands, added that the introduction of the low emission zone had affected the way people travelled through the city.
“If people are aware there is a CAZ in place, and they ordinarily went into that area for whatever reason, they may well be thinking again,” she told Radio 4’s Today programme. “The businesses in the CAZ zone are seeing an impact.”
Birmingham City Council was approached for comment. It has previously said that the CAZ has improved air quality in the city and reduced the proportion of vehicles which are among the most polluting from nearly one in five to under one in 10.
The news comes after Sir Keir Starmer scrapped Labour’s commitment to rolling out CAZs across the country. Outside of London, they have been introduced in the Labour-run cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Bradford, as well as Glasgow, Bath, Sheffield and Oxford.