Derby and Nottingham to reject clean air zones


Both Derby and Nottingham have turned their backs on plans to set up clean air zones (CAZ), insisting they can cut their cities’ emissions through other means.

Nottingham’s and Derby’s Clean Air Strategy plans, which have gone before government ministers for approval this month, reject the option to set up CAZs.

The two cities are part of a group of five, including Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton, tasked by DEFRA with reducing levels of nitrogen dioxide by 2020 to meet EU standards. They had been directed to consider the creation of CAZs to achieve this.

Unlike Leeds’ and Birmingham’s CAZs, which will set daily charges of £50 and between £50 and £100 respectively on all non-Euro-6 trucks, Nottingham has rejected any plans for a CAZ.

Instead the city is proposing to drive down emissions through retrofitting its buses to Euro-6 standards and by requiring taxis to improve their emission standards. The council will also replace its HGVs with electric vehicles. 

However the city has flagged up plans to extend the city centre Clear Zone to include minimum emissions criteria for delivery lorries, taxis and other vehicles, at some point in the future. Currently, the Clear Zone restricts vehicle access to seven streets between 10am and 4.30pm to permit holders only. 

Derby’s Clean Air Strategy plan opts for a car scrappage scheme, backed by grants, to encourage residents to move to ULEV or to lower emission cars. The city has also set out plans to improve traffic flow on the inner city ring road and launch initiatives to help businesses move to low emission vehicles. 

Nottingham councillor Sally Longford said: “Although we considered a Class B clean air zone – which would have affected HGVs, buses and taxis – the actions we’re taking will have a positive impact across the whole city, rather than just in one area.

She added that the measures being taken by Nottingham city council “were enough to meet the targets set by the government and, enough that it is no longer necessary to introduce a clean air zone”.

The council also called on the government to play its part by introducing measures including a national vehicle renewal scheme and funding for the electrification of Midland Mainline to cut the number of diesel trains entering the city.

Derby councillor Asaf Afzal said the council had rejected a charging scheme option because it did not believe it would achieve compliance. He added: “The council has no intention of implementing measures that simply introduce additional costs for residents and businesses, whilst not achieving the necessary air quality improvements.

“We firmly believe that a targeted scrappage scheme for Derby is right for the whole community."

Southampton City Council has confirmed it will charge non-Euro-6 trucks entering its CAZ but has yet to set charge levels.

See Commercial Motor (20 September) for our look at the challenges facing Leeds as it works to introduce its charging CAZ, as well as the impact hauliers and local businesses fear it will have. Subscribe now and get five issues of Commercial Motor for £5.

  • Hauliers affected by Birmingham’s CAZ plans should come along to a free half-day roadshow to find out more and help prepare their fleets. Along with other major cities, the council is consulting on a charging zone for older vehicles, meaning only Euro-6 standard trucks will be able to enter for free once a CAZ is in place. CM’s sister title Motor Transport is working with Birmingham City Council to bring you a dedicated roadshow, giving you the chance to interact directly with senior air quality officials. It takes place on the morning of 11 October at Aston Villa FC, Birmingham and will also feature workshops about the city’s new refuelling centre, vehicle hire and a range of alternative fuels. Places are free, but you will need to register.


Worker’s injuries lead to fine


Wincanton Group has been fined £120,000 after an employee suffered serious injuries when drainage pipes he was unstrapping fell on him.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told how in 2015 the driver was unloading the 3m-long plastic pipes at a site in Braintree, Essex, when they fell, causing him to fall to the ground, resulting in facial injuries, and a broken nose and arm. During the investigation, it was found that Wincanton did not have suitable load plans in place for the type of product involved.

The investigation also revealed inadequacies in the company’s risk assessments, safe systems of work, supervision, monitoring and training at the site. Wincanton pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to comply with Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and was ordered to pay full costs of £29,540 to Braintree District Council, which brought the prosecution.

Councillor Wendy Schmitt, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment and place at Braintree District Council, said: “This was a shocking breach of workplace health and safety law that resulted in an employee being left with nasty injuries. I hope this prosecution sends out a message that there are serious consequences if health and safety laws are breached and Braintree District Council will deal with these robustly.”

A statement from Wincanton said the company was saddened by the accident and works incredibly hard to protect its people, customers and the general public at all times. “Our investigations found inadequate risk assessments, monitoring and training in place, as well as an unsafe system of work,” it added.

“We have ensured that the learnings from this case have been applied across our business and health and safety continues to be our number one priority. We accept the penalty that has been imposed but are pleased that the judge recognised that the company has a positive and proactive safety culture and is a responsible and considerate employer.”