After an open debate in Leeds about the abolition of the environmental zone, the Bristol project is now being completely abandoned.
It is a black day for the environment: As things stand at present, there will be no environmental zone in Bristol. The decision comes immediately after an announcement from the northern English city of Leeds, which also appears to be deviating from its green plans. Since, like in many places in the world, air pollution has decreased due to the Corona epidemic, it seems that the two English cities are now getting a little exuberant. For many experts, this is a despondent step in the wrong direction, as the lawyer Katie Nield from the Client Earth organization dismayedly summarizes: "Despite all the money that has already been invested in the introduction of clean air zones throughout the country, the government now seems to be considering a U-turn. Bizarrely, the ministers seem to be freezing funding for the programs because the closure has obviously improved air pollution. This is incredibly short-sighted. We know that any positive effects on air quality caused by the exceptional circumstances of the lockdown are likely to be short-lived.
Bristol now wants to move away from a low emission zone, known in the UK as the Clean Air Zone (CAZ), and focus more on the public transport system, which it intends to develop continuously. Better cycle paths in the spirit of pop-up projects and new pedestrian routes are also to be provided.
For many, however, this is a big step in the completely wrong direction.
Bristol City Council sees things quite differently and has confirmed its decision: if air pollution stagnates below the legal limits, as it is at present, the government will not pay for a CAZ.
What a shame, Bristol, a little more courage and straightforwardness protects the environment - and not least human lives.