Birmingham news Broad Street boss in last ditch plea to delay city's Clean Air Zone MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Broad Street manger Mike Olley called for a six-month delay to the new zone as he fears it will damage the city centre’s already struggling hospitality sector
Breaking News ! Broad Street's manager has made a last ditch attempt to delay Birmingham's Clean Air Zone by six-months to help the recovery of hospitality in the city's ‘golden mile’. Mike Olley, who is also in charge of Brindleyplace, said the impending zone charges could damage the city centre’s already struggling hospitality and entertainment businesses hit hard by the pandemic. The general manager of Westside BID also warned that visitors supporting Birmingham's night-time economy face being charged twice for the same journey. Mr Olley said delaying the charge zone by a matter of months would help as "business is in bad shape" - but Birmingham City Council said there was "no further plans to delay." Drivers crossing the Middle Ring Road into the city centre will have to pay £8-per-day for a non-compliant car, van or taxi from June 1. A £50 charge will apply to non-compliant buses, coaches and HGVs. Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, wanted the Clean Air Zone to be delayed (Image: Westside) "I can't figure out why the city council, with its hitherto exemplary record of business recovery, is now seeking to damage that track record," said Mr Olley. "The introductory of the Clean Air Zone is not welcome at this time. Give it six-months please. Business needs that. Business is in bad shape. That's self-evident." Birmingham’s Westside area includes the renowned ‘golden mile’ of Broad Street, Brindleyplace and Gas Street Basin. The area has around 150 bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, casinos, cinema screens, theatres and art galleries. Mr Olley said a delay would allow completion of the Midland Metro tram along Broad Street and give people an alternative to driving. He said the Westside’s nightlife made a "massive" contribution to the overall economy, but that the current Clean Air Zone proposals for Birmingham would adversely impact it. Read More Related Articles Birmingham Clean Air Zone exemptions - ways to avoid charge if you need to drive Read More Related Articles Birmingham Clean Air Zone Map - all the places you can go without paying charge "The zone will penalise people on a night out with the wrong sort of car. Indeed, it will doubly penalise them," he said. "Go out at half nine at night and you get slapped with an £8 fine.
. "I don't feel those who designed this system sought to doubly penalise punters out for a good night out. They just didn't think it through." Mr Olley called for a 24-hour time slot which "would make it far better for the night-time economy." His suggestions were put to Birmingham City Council by the Westside team. But a council spokesperson said: "The Clean Air Zone goes live in less than two and a half weeks and we have no further plans to delay."
The spokesperson also implied that the suggested 24-hour time slots would not work, and said the zone was about encouraging people to use alternative options. The spokesperson added: "The charge acts as a deterrent to non-compliant vehicles from entering, though no vehicle is banned." Petrol vehicles falling foul of the relevant nitrogen dioxide levels are likely to be around 15 years old or more, but much newer diesel vehicles will similarly be affected. Mr Olley also pointed to an item on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website which suggested that current nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in Ladywood were already well below the target average of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.
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However, when Westside World asked Defra about this, a spokesman said: "The monitoring site referred to (Birmingham Ladywood) is an urban background site and its measured concentrations of NO2 are not reflective of the wider NO2 levels across Birmingham." He added: "We are providing financial and expert support to local authorities to develop innovative plans to improve air quality alongside Clean Air Zones which help them target the pollution affecting their communities." Mr Olley said he was “disappointed” with the responses from both the city council and Defra. He added: “At a Westside Pub Watch meeting on 14 May, I was urged by the proprietors and general managers of local venues to pursue a delay and 24-hour time slot for the Clear Air Zone.
“What a shame that the city council has not listened to these reasonable pleas. “City centre businesses are already struggling because of the pandemic and the new Clear Air Zone will add further complications and costs for their staff, suppliers and customers. “What’s worse is that many of the air quality figures I’ve seen already show that Westside is within the air quality limits, something that the national government seems to be ignoring.” He added: “The BID and its members will do everything they can to prepare for the Clear Air Zone, of course, but it’s very disappointing that both the council and Defra are simply ticking boxes rather than engaging with the needs of struggling businesses.”
Source = MetiNews.Com