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FSB will continue to engage with City Council as Clean Air Zone plans scrapped

Plans for a controversial clean air zone in Coventry have been scrapped after Government has said it supported the city councils alternative plans to reduce emissions.

The local authority had previously been asked to outline plans for implementing a Clean Air Zone to bring emissions down to within legal limits. A Class D charging zone would have seen drivers and small business owners of the most polluting cars having to pay to enter the city centre. The proposed zone would have covered large parts of the City and had an adverse impact on businesses, with over 52,000 employees and 3500 small businesses captured within the proposed zone. 

Councillors opposed the scheme and submitted revised proposals last summer.  The Government has now said it is content with proposed alternative options including improving pedestrian and cycle routes on roads.

The Federation of Small Businesses in Warwickshire and Coventry has engaged regularly with City Council officials on its air quality plans since they were first announced back in 2019, and continued to outlined small business concerns. This included hosting a joint briefing event with the City Council to update small businesses on the plans and to provide feedback on the impact of a  Clean Air Zone for small firms. 

Rich Bishop, FSB West Midlands Regional Chair said the decision is welcome news for small businesses in Coventry and surrounding areas “We would like to thank the City Council for engaging with the Federation of Small Businesses and the small business community on this issue and raising our concerns regarding possible charging with central Government. 

Not imposing a chargeable Clean Air Zone is good news for small businesses across the City and in surrounding areas, particularly at a time when the costs of doing business are already high. 

However we recognise it is vital that we work together to tackle air pollution and we will continue to engage with the City Council on its package of measures including encouraging the uptake of electric cars and improved traffic management to help improve air quality”

The City council will now need to submit a final business case by June 19, which will include more detail on the authority’s schemes to reduce emissions. Plans range from measures around the ring road – one of the biggest pollution problems in Coventry – to new walking and cycle routes. There could also be a ban on HGVs in part of the City and restrictions on polluting vehicles on particular sections of road. 

The FSB will continue to work with the City Council to establish what this means for trade and deliveries, and any potential restrictions for small businesses.