British public supports clean air zones, survey finds

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Proposals for clean air zones in UK cities and towns have the backing of more than half of the British public, according to a new survey.

The UK government announced last year that the first five clean air zones will be in place by 2020 in Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton, imposing charges on drivers of the most polluting vehicles.

However, a YouGov poll commissioned by environmental law organisation ClientEarth suggests support for a wider rollout, with more than half of the 1,692 people surveyed saying they are in favour of charges for heavily polluting vehicles.

Almost three quarters also said they believe the UK car industry should help fund efforts to clean up the country's high levels of air pollution.

ClientEarth spokesperson Simon Alcock commented: "People are more aware than ever of the harm air pollution is causing to them and their children and they want to see action. The government's own evidence shows that a national network of charging clean air zones would be the most effective way to bring down illegal and toxic levels of air pollution."

There were also rumours last year of a diesel scrappage scheme, to encourage drivers to switch to cleaner vehicles. No government scheme has yet been announced, although several manufacturers launched their own scrappage schemes.

More than half of those surveyed supported the idea of a government-backed scrappage scheme.

ClientEarth is taking the UK government to court in an attempt to force more urgent action on air pollution. The firm claims that the latest plans, released last summer, should be supplemented as they don't meet the legal requirement to bring air pollution within legal limits as soon as possible.

Do you support the introduction of clean air zones? Would you take advantage of a scrappage scheme?

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