Blackpool ULEZ ruled out as councillors give go ahead to new clean air strategy

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Many towns and cities are introducing congestion charges

A 10-year clean air strategy for Blackpool has got the go-ahead – but will not include charging motorists to drive through congestion zones as is now common in many other urban areas.

Blackpool Council’s executive, which approved the strategy when it met on Monday, January 22, instead wants to encourage people to use cleaner forms of transport.

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There are no plans for a congestion charge in BlackpoolThere are no plans for a congestion charge in Blackpool
There are no plans for a congestion charge in Blackpool | National World

Coun Jane Hugo, cabinet member for climate change, has persistently ruled out introducing congestion charges in the resort, and following the meeting said this continued to be the case.

She said: “We don’t have a very big problem with air quality living so close to the sea and being a coastal area, but it is important we have good air quality and meet government legislation.

“This strategy has nothing to do with ULEZ (ultra-low emission zone), which is something happening in other towns and cities across the country.

“In Blackpool, we are encouraging people to use cleaner forms of transport such as the electric buses we will be getting soon, and the trams, as well as considering walking to work.

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“There is no sneaky way that we are going to introduce charges. We don’t want to put another burden on people during the cost of living crisis.”

Air quality monitoring has previously shown poor levels in parts of the town centre including Dickson Road, Church Street, Grosvenor Street, and Talbot Square where traffic congestion is most likely.

The first vehicles in Blackpool’s new 115 state-of-the-art electric bus fleet are scheduled to arrive in autumn this year with the project fully completed in 2025, while the council is also preparing for the installation of more electric vehicle chargers in the town.

Active travel initiatives include encouraging people to walk to work or school, and to cycle more with partnerships in place such as Love to Ride. It is also hoped to improve the local footpath and cycle path networks.

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Work is also underway to green up Blackpool, with a target to plant 10,000 new trees over a 10-year period ending in 2031.

Air pollution is associated with a number of poor health impacts, and can contribute to the onset of illnesses including heart disease and cancer.

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