Coventry City Council has accused the Government of using ‘heavy handed’ tactics after it was ordered to implement a clean air zone.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) rejected the council’s £83m plan to improve air quality in the city by promoting electric vehicles, and walking and cycling routes.
Defra has, instead, insisted that Coventry introduces a charging clean air zone (CAZ), which will require drivers of high-polluting vehicles, such as buses, lorries and older cars, to pay a charge.
Cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, Cllr Jim O’Boyle, said: ‘There’s no point using heavy handed tactics without any clear rationale.
‘Our local plan is all evidence-based, we can demonstrate that we can reduce nitrogen oxide levels in the areas of the most concern and I can’t see how a charging zone would reduce emissions any quicker.
‘They are asking us to make every arterial road in the city part of a charging zone and that’s completely unacceptable.'