Clean Air Zone

Clean air over Old Market Square

In May 2017 the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published a document entitled ‘Improving Air Quality in the UK’ which identifies nitrogen dioxide as the main cause of poor air quality in cities, and sets out measures to tackle it. The main source of pollution is the transport network and in particular diesel and petrol vehicles. The measures contained in the documents include:

  • Encouraging the take up of low emission vehicles (LEVs)
  • Support for alternative modes of travel such as cycling, walking and public transport
  • Possible Clean Air Zones (CAZs)

Initial analysis carried out by Defra showed that Nottingham, along with several other cities, is unlikely to comply with legal limits for the levels of nitrogen dioxide by 2020. As a result Nottingham is required to take steps to improve air quality.

What is a Clean Air Zone?

A Clean Air Zone is an area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality. As the majority of pollution in cities is caused by traffic the main measure within a Clean Air Zone will be measures to reduce the number of the most polluting vehicles, potentially via a charge.

Will a Clean Air Zone be introduced in Nottingham?

The City Council is currently assessing whether it will be necessary to implement a Clean Air Zone in Nottingham.


What else is the City Council doing to improve Air Quality?

Promoting transport choice is key to improving air quality, as more choice leads to fewer cars and a reduction in pollution.

We are already improving air quality via:

  • Workplace parking levy – has reduced congestion and the money raised is ring-fenced for citywide transport improvements.
  • Tram network – each electric tram can transport up to 200 people, leading to a vast reduction of the number of cars on the road
  • Electric and bio gas bus network – Nottingham has some of the highest bus usage in the country and the city has made significant steps towards greener vehicles.
  • Go Ultra Low status – Nottingham was named an exemplar city for electric vehicles. This project will install over 230 charging points in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and Derby as well as supporting citizens to make the change to electric cars.
  • Cycling projects – the council is supporting cycling in the city through developing infrastructure and working with communities to support new cyclists.