Birmingham City Council has written to the Government requesting postponement to the launch of its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to help protect the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

A CAZ is a part of a town or city where charges or fines are introduced in order to discourage the use of polluting vehicles. The aim is to improve air quality.

Birmingham’s CAZ was supposed to be introduced this summer. However, the city council has requested to delay the launch of the zone until at least the end of the calendar year.

The local authority said their focus during the pandemic should be on trying to support businesses and employees rather than upgrading vehicle fleets.

‘COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the economy of the city and our preparations for the Clean Air Zone,’ said Cllr Waseem Zaffar, cabinet member for transport and environment.

‘However, air pollution remains an on-going concern for this city. Once we have addressed coronavirus in the immediate term, poor air quality will continue to be a significant issue in the long term, and we should not be complacent.’

He added: ‘We believe that a Clean Air Zone in Birmingham remains the most effective way of making a sustainable improvement to Birmingham’s air quality and we will continue to put in place the infrastructure required to support it.’

Applications remain open for CAZ temporary exemption permits. These will be available to residents, low income workers and businesses in the Clean Air Zone for a period of one to two years after launch.