THERE are no plans to implement a congestion charge in Coventry, a councillor has confirmed.
A leading councillor has condemned suggestions a charge could be imposed on the city to tackle traffic pollution issues.
The speculation came after West Midlands mayor Andy Street was quoted as saying that the measure was something that Birmingham “is going to have to do.”
But councillor Jim O’Boyle, Coventry council’s cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said there were no plans to do anything similar in Coventry.
He said: “The first thing to make clear is that the West Midlands Combined Authority does not have the power to impose a pollution charge on this city.
“The issue in Birmingham is different as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has identified that traffic pollution is a concern in their city centre but that is not the case here.
“Yes, there are a small number of roads in the city where levels are higher than we would want at certain times of the day but they are not in the city centre.
“They are roads leading in and out of the city and we are closely monitoring the issue and working with DEFRA to identify ways of improving our city’s air quality and avoiding a need for a pollution charge.
“But what is absolutely clear is that the West Midlands Combined Authority has no power to impose that on us.”
Warwickshire Green county councillor, Keith Kondakor, reacted to the news by reminding local councils of the Public Health England figures that show significant numbers of premature deaths are caused by air pollution.
He said: “Air pollution will be a contributing factor in around 6 per cent of deaths in Coventry and will be resulting in around 170 people dying early in the city each year.
“Air pollution below the legal limits over long periods does have a massive impact on health and costs to the health service.
“It is likely that many locations on busy streets in the city will exceed legal limits for many years to come if we fail to act.
“We cannot just wait decades for the cars on our roads to be better.”