Bankrupt Labour council slammed over 'wasteful' £2m spending on cars that fail to meet OWN eco standards

​Birmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council has been criticised for the move

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 28/11/2023

- 09:48

It comes as Birmingham City Council was forced to declare bankruptcy in September

A city council has come under fire for spending £2million on hiring vehicles that didn't fit the standard of its own ultra low emission zone.

According to a Freedom of Information request, Birmingham City Council spent £2.1million in the financial year 2022-23 on hiring vehicles that did not comply with the standards of its own Ulez-equivalent scheme.

The city introduced its scheme, the Clean Air Zone, in June 2021, becoming the first city outside London to adopt it.

Since the start of the scheme, over 110,000 drivers have been fined.

Clean Air Zone

The Clean Air Zone was introduced in 2021


The clean air zone has brought in £79million since coming into force.

However, despite the windfall from the tax, the Labour-led council was forced to declare bankruptcy in September.

The authority has also written off close to 70,000 clean air fines. Birmingham is one of seven cities other than London to have introduced the scheme.

Non-compliant cars in Birmingham are charged £8 per day, rising to £50 for heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches.


\u200bBirmingham City Council

Birmingham City Council has also lost a reported £100million on a botched IT upgrade scheme.


A TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman said: "As Birmingham residents prepare for huge cuts to services and council tax rises, news of this waste will only compound their misery."

Last month a report revealed the huge scale of the problems it faced, with an expected budget shortfall of £164.8million in 2024-25 and £177.1million in 2025-26. It must make £165million of savings in the next financial year.

Birmingham City Council has also lost a reported £100million on a botched IT upgrade scheme.

Back in September, Birmingham City Council filed a section 112 notice of bankruptcy.

Local councils have seen a huge reduction in their government grants in recent years.

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson said: "Vehicles owned or leased by the council often need to be replaced or upgraded due to operational needs.

"When the time arises to add to our fleet, we always seek where possible to ensure that new additions are compliant with the city's clean air zone."

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