Polluting vehicles will be charged to enter parts of five English cities by the end of this decade, the government has announced.
Ministers announced plans to create clean air zones in Leeds, Derby, Nottingham, Birmingham and Southampton by 2020.
High-emission buses, coaches, lorries and taxis will be charged to enter these areas in a bid to discourage them from doing so. Private vehicles and those meeting green standards will be exempt.
Councils will consult on the details of the zones, and will be unable to raise revenue beyond recovering the cost of the scheme.
Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Our Clean Air Zones are targeted on the largest vehicles, while not affecting car owners and minimising the impact on business.
“We want to ensure people can continue to drive into city centres and by targeting action at the most polluting coaches, taxis, buses and lorries we will encourage the use of cleaner vehicles.”
Clean air zones were mooted back in September when the government set out plans to meet European Union air quality targets.
The European Court of Justice last year 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.