Bristol votes to ban ALL diesel cars in 2021

Bristol is set to introduce a daytime ban on diesel cars from its city centre in 2021, if the plans are approved by the government

Bristol diesel car ban 2021

Bristol is set to ban all diesel cars from its city centre in 2021, if the scheme gets government approval. Bristol City Council agreed on the ban, a first for a UK city.

Privately-owned diesel cars will be banned between 07.00 and 15.00 in areas including part of the M32, Redcliffe, Spike Island, Harbourside, part of hotwells and the old city. 

Bristol city could ban diesel cars

A ban means a ban, too. If you’re not a taxi or the emergency services, passing into this central area will incur a fine, whatever the age of your diesel car.

The movement of vehicles within the central zone will be monitored using ANPR (automatic numberplate recognition system), similar to how the Lonon ULEZ works.

In addition, commercial vehicles will need to pay a fee for a wider Bristol clean air zone. Taxis and vans will be charged £9 while buses and HGVs will pay £100. The wider zone will allow private diesel vehicles in without charge.

Details on exemptions for other vehicles, as well as how much the fines will be, have yet to be decided.

Bristol’s NOx problem

Having twice missed government deadlines for cleaning up the city’s air, this is a drastic measure from Bristol’s council. At present, air pollution levels are way beyond legal levels. This plan, with controlled access to certain zones by diesel vehicles, should in theory see it become compliant by 2025.

Bristol city could ban diesel cars

While a long time coming, some are worried it’s still knee-jerk, with residents and commuters taking the brunt. Diesel drivers and businesses now have around 16 months to ditch the oil-burners, or face exhile, charges, or fines.

Some Bristol-centric businesses will be facing big upgrade costs, in order to be able to stay operational once the policy is in effect.

It’s a sign of things to come in cities across the UK, as similar schemes are being considered to lower NOx levels. Bristol is just one of 36 local authorities out of 43 where air toxicity reaches illegal levels.

Some European cities have already operated such bans when pollution levels get too high, such as Paris and Oslo.

SMMT: Blanket ban is unfair on modern diesels

Bristol city could ban diesel cars

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive has spoken out commending the intent to clean up Bristol’s air, but warns against the unfairness of a blanket ban.

“Industry wants to see all cities, including Bristol, meet their targets and continues to invest in ever more advanced technology to help improve our environment,” Hawes said.

“However, this proposed blanket ban, which goes against government’s guidelines, fails to distinguish between modern vehicles and decades-old technologies and will only cause confusion for drivers while also undermining efforts to boost air quality.

“Instead, we need a clear and consistent national approach to clean air zones that incentivises uptake of the latest, low emission vehicles, including new Euro 6 diesels, which are the cleanest ever produced, alongside improvements to traffic flow and investment in charging infrastructure.”

Related Articles

Ethan Jupp
I'm Content Editor at MR. Road trips music and movies are my vices. Perennially stuck between French hot hatches and Australian muscle cars.


  1. Damaging hysteria. Just let diesels fade away over time. Knee jerk trendy change necessarily encourages, or requires, more waste of natural resources and causes more pollution in eg. manufacturing new vehicles just for the sake of fashion. Unless they just want Bristol to become a select crowd of only a certain type of person of a particular level of wealth …?

  2. It’s certainly potentially damaging – and the industry doesn’t view it as helpful either, as Mike Hawes from the SMMT points out in the article…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


CES 2016: car tech review of the show

Because cars are getting smart and clever

Speeders get 1-minute grace period on smart motorways

New research reveals that when a speed limit changes on a smart motorway, drivers have a one-minute ‘grace period’ before cameras will flash them.

Stolen vehicle claims up 22 percent in 2019 so far

Figures released by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveal that £108 million was paid out in stolen vehicle claims in the first quarter of 2019.

Revealed: the towns and cities where EV ownership is surging

Using data sourced from a Freedom of Information request, we can reveal the 20 towns and cities were electric car demand is growing fast