Some motorists could soon have to pay to drive on two of the busiest roads within Sefton.
Sefton Council is proposing to charge drivers of the least environmentally friendly HGVs using the busy A5036, which runs between Switch Island and the Port of Liverpool at Seaforth, and the A565, which runs between Liverpool and Tarleton.
It is not yet known how large an area would be covered by the new rules.
Sefton Council wants to impose a ‘Clean Air Zone’ under which some HGV owners would be charged to enter, because of concerns over the substantial increase in road haulage trips due to the expansion of the docks.
The new toll roads would be the first in Sefton where drivers have to pay to enter an area due to environmental concerns.
In his report, Sefton Council Assistant Director of Place (Highways and Public Protection) Peter Moore said: “The main on-going priority in Sefton for the coming years is to fully understand the effects that the predicted increase in HGVs due to port expansion will have on air quality and how this can be mitigated.
“This is undoubtedly the most significant challenge for the council in terms of air quality impact in the borough at the present time, due to the scale of the expansion and the potential for this to impact on air quality in existing Air Quality Management Areas and also impact on public exposure receptor residential locations on port access routes.”
Through air pollution monitoring four areas in South Sefton have been identified where levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) have exceeded or are close to the annual average standard of levels of air pollution.
Air Quality Management Areas have been declared in: Princess Way, Seaforth; Millers Bridge, Bootle; Crosby Road North / South Road in Waterloo; and Hawthorne Road / Church Road in Litherland.
Peter Moore said: “Sefton Council has prepared the Clean Air Plan (CAP) Outline Business Case (OBC) because there are locations within Sefton with persistent poor air quality, and this poor air quality has detrimental effects on public health and the wider environment.
“Some of the worst air quality in Sefton is concentrated within areas with existing high levels of health and income deprivation, meaning that the worst air quality is experienced by those most vulnerable to its effects.”
The HGV Clean Air Zone scheme features a charging Clean Air Zone applied to non-compliant HGVs (Euro 5 and older) that cross into a designated section of the Sefton highway network.
It is not yet known what the charge would be.
The preferred option HGV Clean Air Zone is focused on the A565 and A5036 corridors, incorporating all four of the existing Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).
Incorporating the A5036 within the Clean Air Zone requires entry and exit signs and enforcement cameras to be installed on the National Highways network and would require a co-operative approach between Sefton Council and National Highways on this issue.
Peter Moore said: “The development of the Outline Business Case for a Sefton based Clean Air Zone (CAZ) under the overarching Clean Air Plan is complete and has demonstrated that a corridor HGV charging CAZ covering the A5036 and A565 could achieve significant air quality improvements within the CAZ boundary and wider borough.
“The progression of the CAP scheme to the next stage, ie Full Business Case, will depend on a number of factors, which include key risks and constraints along with identification of a funding source.
“Key stakeholder engagement (LCC, National Highways, Peel Ports, Joint Air Quality Unit) is underway to help inform the decision on the preferred pathway. Once the engagement has been completed a report will be presented to Cabinet for their consideration.”