MPs have called for councils to be given more powers to tax use of polluting vehicles on their roads.
The cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee urged ministers to give greater flexibility to local authorities to tackle air pollution through financial charges.
The government last year announced plans to create clean air zones in Leeds, Derby, Nottingham, Birmingham and Southampton by 2020. This came after The European Court of Justice effectively ordered the government to produce plans to cut nitrogen dioxide levels in certain areas to below limits set out in the Air Quality Directive.
The committee said this week in a report that the government’s plans for clean air zones were too rigid.
“The department must give local authorities greater flexibility in order that they can tailor measures to best meet their local circumstances,” said the committee. “For example, cities may find it more effective to limit vehicle access at certain times of day or to target specific bus routes rather than adopt blanket access proposals.”
The report added: “Charging powers are planned for only the five cities with the worst pollution yet dozens of areas breach EU limits: we recommend that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs extends these powers to other councils.”