Birmingham is due to bring in its low emissions zone zone in summer 2020. Anyone driving a car that isn’t Euro 4 compliant for petrol or Euro 6 for diesel will have to pay £8 per day to enter Birmingham city centre. The idea is likely to catch on with councils, eager to make money to replace the lost revenue as High Street retailing goes into an irreversible decline, and so business rates revenue collapses.
To help car drivers find out if their car is compliant with the new taxation zones, the government has set up a vehicle checker website. But guess what? Some of the info is incorrect. The government has told the media that it should be correct nearer the time of the Birmingham CAZ launch.
Reacting to the launch of the Government’s beta online vehicle checker designed to help drivers see how they may be affected by new clean air zones, RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said:
“With the first clean air zones outside London coming into force this summer, it’s essential drivers can quickly and easily find out if their car is affected. We’ve been calling for an online emissions checker for more than two years, so this is a step in the right direction.
“But we do have some concerns about how effective this ‘beta’ website currently is in checking the compliance of every vehicle. Drivers of some early Euro 6 diesel vehicles for example will face a strange situation where this website tells them their car is not compliant for Birmingham’s clean air zone. But if they were to use London website checker, where the Ultra Low Emission Zone standard operates to the same Euro 6 standard, they will find it is compliant. This explains why the new website carries a notice that asks drivers to check back on the site closer to the time new clean air zones come in.
“In short, a number plate is not a reliable way of finding out a car’s Euro emissions standards so we recommend drivers double-check with their vehicle manufacturer to be sure.
“There is now very little time for drivers in cities such as Birmingham with non-compliant vehicles to change them. Those who still need a car for essential journeys but can’t afford to switch to a compliant one will soon face daily charges as certain cities take action to clean up their air.”