12 Feb 2015 - Mayor's Low Emission Zone pledge welcomed

I am delighted to hear that Mayor Ferguson has said that he would like to see a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in place in Bristol if he is re-elected in 2016.

I have been campaigning vigorously for an LEZ for two years now, and until today the mayor has responded with warm words, but little has happened. Central Bristol suffers badly from traffic pollution, which we know comes mostly from the heavy vehicles like buses and lorries that an LEZ targets.

London has operated a low emission zone since 2008 and plans to introduce a limited Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020; meanwhile Germany has a national framework of over 70 LEZs. LEZs have been proven to work. Where they have been introduced they encourage the uptake of cleaner, sustainable vehicles, leading to reductions in pollution emissions and improved air quality.

But with air quality levels in central Bristol breaching limits due to large polluting vehicles, why is the mayor insistent on waiting until after the next election in 2016? We are the European Green Capital for 2015 and there is an urgent need to address the issue of air quality in the city centre now, not in the future.

Dr Mark Wright