Check yourself before you wreck yourself – Birmingham’s clean air zone delayed by website errors

Check yourself before you wreck yourself – Birmingham’s clean air zone delayed by website errors
A faulty government online vehicle checker has delayed the launch of Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

The city council announced it will not begin enforcing the low emission zone until the new vehicle checker tool, launched last week, is working correctly for six months.

The CAZ was set to charge older, high-polluting vehicles in the city centre from July 1.

But as it stands, the website incorrectly tells owners of early Euro 6 diesel vehicles that they will have to pay the £8 daily fee.

The RAC led the calls for a vehicle checker for over two years. Spokesman Rod Dennis said: “This is a confusing time for drivers, so having certainty about whether they face charges or not is paramount. Anything short of a single, definitive online vehicle checker isn’t really acceptable.”

He added: “It’s somewhat unfortunate that the only thing holding Britain’s second biggest city back from reducing vehicle emissions is a website.”

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “The Government has recognised the teething problems with its clean air zone vehicle checker and is working to iron out any issues as quickly as possible.

“Once those issues are resolved, there needs to be a period for motorists to check and prepare – and it has been suggested that this be a six-month period in fairness to all concerned. This remains in line with the previously-stated CAZ launch estimate of summer 2020.

“The key message is that if you are driving a Euro 4 petrol vehicle or Euro 6 diesel your vehicle will be compliant with Birmingham’s CAZ.”

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Leeds’ low emission zone was due to go live in March, but has also been postponed until at least July, due to an infrastructure delay.

Bath and Sheffield will introduce their own CAZ schemes within the next two years.

Vehicle emissions have covered numerous column inches of late, with the government being accused of moving the goalposts for petrol and diesel car sale bans once more.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed that a ban on the sale of new vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, could come as early as 2032.

The news came shortly after Boris Johnson announced plans to bring the ban forward by five years from 2040 to 2035.

Mr Shapps explained that the Government is investing around £1.5 billion for the shift away from petrol and diesel.

He said there are “now more public charging locations than petrol stations in this country” and “electric cars are coming and we want to help the country transition”.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are consulting on a range of possible dates to bring forward the end to the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans.

“The consultation proposal for this is 2035 or earlier if a faster transition appears feasible, as well as including hybrids for the first time.”

Find out everything you need to know about the Birmingham Clean Air Zone.

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