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Birmingham plans for clean air zone ANPR


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Birmingham City Council and Siemens Mobility are working on the delivery of an ANPR monitoring and enforcement system for the city centre clean air zone (CAZ).

It follows an earlier announcement of a similar deal for Leeds, but there is still uncertainty about the implementation dates due to the delay in the Department for Transport’s Joint Air Quality Unit’s (JAQ) delivery of a vehicle checker system with which the cities’ systems will be integrated.

Siemens Mobility said it is working Birmingham and the JAQ on a system to cover all the major routes within the Middleway Ring Road. The software has been developed to be compatible with national and local systems, such as its existing ANPR system to monitor bus lanes in the city.

Its Sicore II ANPR cameras will be installed at selected locations across the zon and are expected to capture details of around 200,000 vehicles per day. The information will then interface with the Government’s national CAZ database for vehicle checking and payment.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar said: “These cameras will play a key role in helping us to identify non-compliant vehicles entering the clean air zone, which in turn will help us tackle the major public crisis of poor air quality by discouraging the owners of the most polluting vehicles from driving into the city centre.

“However, we anticipate that the number of non-compliant vehicles entering the clean air zone will gradually drop as more people switch to compliant vehicles or choose cleaner, greener forms of transport instead.”

Timing uncertainties

The system is scheduled to begin live testing this month and expected to be fully implemented over next year, although there are still uncertainties around the timing.

In June Birmingham and Leeds issued a joint statement saying they would have to hold back from the original launch dates of January 2020 due to delays in the development of the JAQ’s vehicle checker system.

A spokesperson for Birmingham said it is getting its own infrastructure in place and hoping to launch the CAZ on 1 July 2020.

Leeds indicated that it is yet to confirm a new ‘go live’ date but hopes to do so soon.

The project is the cities’ response to the Government’s initiative for the setting up of CAZs from next year. This is aimed at reducing levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air to a maximum average of 40μg/m3 as soon as possible.

Siemens Mobility has already supplied the software to support the ultra low emission zone in London, where it is integrated with ANPR and roadside sensors.

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