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Clean Air Zone City Council Policy Position Statement

31/10/2019 - Clean Air Zone City Council Policy Position Statement

Public Question

Councillor Bick addressed the committee as a Ward Councillor and Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership representative.

  i.  Welcomed the Officer’s report. Hoped this would encourage Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership to develop a long term strategy to address issues.

  ii.  Agreed it is a priority to apply the clean air zone to Class A vehicles as they were needed to service the city so had to be ‘clean’.

  iii.  Other cities had imposed clean air zones.

  iv.  Queried if the clean air zone would apply to delivery vehicles in future.

  v.  Agreed the clean air zone should not be applied to private motor vehicles yet. Public realm improvements, road safety and congestion needed to be reviewed in future. A way to reduce the number of vehicles on the road would be welcome (instead of changing ‘polluting’ vehicles to ‘clean’ without reducing the overall number).


The Executive Councillor responded:

  i.  The City Council was responsible for clean air, but Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership had the power to actually take action on this and mitigating congestion.

  ii.  The City Council was working with Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership to influence them.


Matter for Decision

The report set out below aims to acknowledge the work done to date and to reiterate the City Councils on-going support for a significant transport intervention to cut road traffic emissions and improve air quality.


In acknowledging the findings of the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership funded Clean Air Zone Feasibility Study, delivered by the City Council in February 2019, the Council seeks to reinforce the key findings and recommendations.


Officers would like note the importance of the on-going independent Citizens’ Assembly organised to help inform any transport interventions to be taken forward by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership.


The combination of a significant technical evidence base supporting an intervention to curb road traffic emissions and a robust independent, representative view of potential interventions from the Citizens’ Assembly should lead to a comprehensive proposal for a package of measures to be considered by the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership board in December 2019.


The City Council will work with the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership to support such a package of measures to include actions to significantly improve air quality in the City for the medium and long term.


The City council also notes the recent public commitment by all the UK major bus operators to ‘Only purchase next generation ultra-low or zero emissions buses from 2025 (but starting this process by 2023 in some urban areas’.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Climate Change,

Environment and City Centre

Agreed to:

  i.  Support the contents of the Cambridge Clean Air Zone (CAZ) feasibility study and its key finding that:


‘Without intervention and with the expected doubling of the bus fleet, there is a risk that the air quality in Cambridge will not improve over the next decade.’


  ii.  Support the key recommendations of the CAZ feasibility study, namely,

a.  Without intervention and with the expected doubling of the bus fleet, there is a risk that the air quality in Cambridge will not improve over the next decade. Air pollution accounts for 106 deaths each year in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

b.  The most effective interventions are those focussed on improving the whole bus fleet to cleaner vehicles through a charging Clean Air Zone ‘Class A’ (all buses and coaches to be Euro 6, diesel taxis to be Euro 6 and petrol taxis to be Euro 4). This would deliver compliance with the limit value for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) across most of the city in 2021.

c.  The most effective intervention to improve air quality and protect public health in the long term is a charging `Class D’ Clean Air Zone which includes all vehicles. Improvement in the bus fleet should be a priority due to their large contribution to emissions. It is recommended that focus is given to improvement in the vehicle fleet within the city centre area by 2021. It is expected that the implementation of a Clean Air Zone would take approximately 18 months.

d.   By 2031, reductions in concentrations across the whole of Cambridge will bring further public health benefits. Introducing a more ambitious charging CAZ (including light goods vehicles, buses and coaches to be ‘Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) or ‘ Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV)) is predicted to reduce NO2 levels to below 80% of the air quality objectives across Cambridge; it is recommended that this option is pursued.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Environmental Quality & Growth Manager.


In response to the report Councillors commented that parents left their vehicle engines idling outside schools whilst waiting for children. Queried actions being taken to address this.


The Environmental Quality & Growth Manager said:

  i.  The issue was being reviewed.

  ii.  The County Council and schools were trialing a no-idling zone outside two schools in 2020. The impact would be monitored. Various schools had volunteered for the trial.

  iii.  Street management was the responsibility of the transport authority (Highways Authority).


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.