New car tax will not charge drivers for two weeks as people are ‘not aware’ of updates

Birmingham: Clean Air Zone signs seen across the city

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The city’s brand new Clean Air Zone charge launched this morning with a special smoke effect rising out of the main city centre library. However, just hours later Councillor Waseem Zaffar confirmed drivers would not be charged until 14 June as initial glitches are stamped out.

Some drivers have reported problems while trying to pay in advance of their journeys.

Mr Zaffar said the decision to delay was also because not everyone was aware of the new scheme.

He said the council aimed to “support people” through the changes instead of issuing fines straight away.

Drivers will also not be issued a £120 penalty fine if they fail to pay the charge within four weeks of June 14.

Councillor Zaffar said: “In the first two weeks of the project, we won’t be seeking any payment.

“We understand that not everybody in the city, despite all our extensive conversations, is aware of this particular project.

“We won’t be seeking any enforcement action either. We want to support people.

“We do not want people to pay this charge we want people to be shifting their journeys over.”

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Birmingham’s new scheme will charge drivers of cars, taxis and vans up to £8 per day to use city centre roads.

Larger vehicles such as buses, coaches and lorries will be expected to pay up to £50 to use the roads.

Initial estimates suggested around 25 percent of Birmingham traffic would be forced to pay the fees.

The scheme will run across the city centre, covering roads inside the A4540 Middleway Ring Road.

Speaking to Birmingham Live, Councillor Ian Ward said: “To be fair over the past 15 months or so most people have been focussed on one thing, the Coronavirus pandemic.

“It has been very difficult to get messaging out about the introduction of the Clean Air Zone today.

“We want to do this in a fair way to everybody, make sure everyone is aware.

“Although the Zone goes live today, for the first two weeks no one will actually be charged.

“They will go onto the website and they will get further information about the Clean Air Zone and about alternative ways for people to move around the city.”

He added: “From the 14 June for the four weeks following that, if you come into the zone in the non-compliant vehicle and you subsequently receive a penalty charge notice, you will be given an option of paying the fee rather than the penalty charge.

“We are trying to be fair and reasonable to everybody.”

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