UK to prioritize electric cars on roads and traffic lights
Electric cars could be given priority at traffic lights and exempted from one-way systems, under new proposals.
The government’s planned clean air zones are intended to encourage drivers to choose less-polluting electric cars.
Proposed for five English cities by 2020, the clean air zones will also introduce restrictions on older, polluting commercial vehicles.
But AA president Edmund King said drivers would be “baffled” by separate rules for electric cars.
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has told Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton to introduce clean air zones within four years to reduce pollutants, which are linked to the deaths of 40,000 people a year in the UK.
The clean air zones are the government’s response to a UK Supreme Court ruling, which ordered it to take action to meet European limits on air pollution.
Environment minister Therese Coffey said: “We need to tackle air pollution and creating Clean Air Zones will improve the quality of life for people who live and work in our towns and cities, both now and in the future.”
Alan Andrews, a lawyer for ClientEarth, an environmental law group which brought the Supreme Court action, said the plan was “too little, too late”.
“Requiring just five cities in the UK to introduce clean air zones doesn’t solve a national problem which causes thousands of premature deaths. Other local authorities won’t introduce voluntary clean air zones unless they are made to, or paid to,” he said.
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