Birmingham has introduced a new Clean Air Zone starting from June 1.

The new charge means certain drivers must pay a daily fee if they enter the city centre.

It was launched in January but there was a delay after issues with the vehicle checking software.

Now it has been introduced from today with fees payable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Drivers will be forced to pay £8 per day or more if they enter the zone with heavily polluting petrol and diesel cars.

The new scheme will launch on roads within the A540 Middleway which covers much of Birmingham's main city centre.

This scheme has been introduced to meet the city's air pollution targets and to change the behaviour around emissions.

It is hoped the project will also encourage people to take public transport or use their bicycles for short journeys.

But the scheme has been met with some opposition for locals who claim it could have a negative impact on the city.

Many hospitality businesses want the scheme delayed more until they properly recover from the pandemic.

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Taxi drivers have described the scheme as "crippling" for their trade.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar said the scheme had been "delayed too long" and it had to launch on June 1.

He said: "Back in 2017 the Conservative Government issued us with a directive to bring down levels of nitrous oxide (mostly generated by vehicle fumes) to a maximum average of 40μg/m3 (40 parts per cubic metre) as soon as possible.

"We looked at a range of options but ultimately we needed to act quickly. Birmingham's air makes us the most polluted city outside London. A charging Clean Air Zone is the best option to bring about rapid change."

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Birmingham Council has confirmed there will be some "short term exemptions" in place to help those affected by the new charge.

These will apply to residents, workers, commercial vehicles and community cars.

Other exceptions will apply to specialist vehicles, community and school transport, disabled and some classic cars.

The £10 million project aims to help people working in the Clean Air Zone who earn less than £30,000.

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