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Greens outline an anti-pollution zone for Brighton and Hove
An anti-pollution zone is planned to make the air cleaner in Brighton and Hove.
Just days after The Argus reported that one of the most polluted streets in the European Union is in the city, Brighton and Hove City Council’s Green administration has called for the creation of a Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) by 2015.
This could restrict the most polluting vehicles, such as buses, taxis and heavy goods vehicles, from entering certain areas in a bid to reduce pollution and encourage a shift to cleaner vehicles.
While the move was generally supported by opposition councillors, some raised concerns it may force bus firms to pass on the cost of replacing vehicles onto customers.
Councillor Ian Davey, deputy council leader, said: “As we still face rising pollution in the city centre and the risk of huge EU fines being passed down by central government, it’s vital we do something decisive, and do it now, to clean up the air we breathe.”
The move was made at a meeting of the council’s transport and environment committee meeting yesterday.
Similar LEZs have already been set up in Oxford, Edinburgh and London.
Ideas include phasing-in of cleaner engines, retrofitting of filters to buses and promoting more eco-friendly driving.
Council officials have now been asked to work with partners and draw up plans to create a specific plan for Brighton and Hove.
The exact area will be decided in the coming months although it is likely to include heavily polluted streets, such as North Street.
A list of minimum standards could also be drawn up which could see firms having to replace older buses and taxis.
Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses, said the firm supported the council’s objective, adding it was looking forward to working with the council on creating a delivery plan.
He added the company had already been taking measures to improve the city’s air quality, such as getting more people on public transport rather than cars and investing in cleaner buses.
Conservative councillor Graham Cox said the concept had merits but the implications needed to be thought out.
He said: “Introducing new cleaner engines [for buses] would cost a fortune and the last thing we would want to see is passengers being penalised through higher fares.”
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