Disabled People Must Not Pay The Price For Clean Air

Hundreds of Disabled people are created and die because of Bristol’s dirty air crisis every year.  We need to clean our air quickly, but the clean air zone (CAZ) needs to centre the needs of the most disadvantaged in our city. The current plans will impact most on Disabled people and people with long term health conditions.  These people are already struggling due to austerity, the pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. The scheme could mean many Disabled people lose access to a car, be trapped in their homes and face fines that will drive them even deeper into poverty, causing serious harm to their wellbeing and health. 

The 2021 Equality Impact Assessment on the CAZ recognised that are “disproportionately” felt by Disabled people. Despite the council knowing this, insufficient mitigations have been put in place. We understand that some elements of the scheme are controlled by central Government, however, the council could do a lot more to make the scheme accessible.  

Problems include:

Insufficient Funding: There isn’t enough financial support available to be able to get a vehicle that can be used in the zone. People have to work or volunteer for a certain number of hours to be eligible. Yet the Disability Employment Gap means that only 53.2% for Disabled people are in work compared to 81.8% non-Disabled people (Office for National Statistics, 2019). There aren’t exemptions if you can’t work for health reasons. Even if a person does qualify, the funding won’t be enough to re-adapt a car. Auto Chair research has found that a brand-new vehicle with modifications can cost around £40,000 and second-hand is little better. The £2,000 on offer doesn’t begin to cover theses costs. Meanwhile, Motability support is only for those on higher or enhanced mobility benefits, so many can’t get this support.

Lack of Sufficient Public Transport Alternatives: One component of the grant scheme offers credits to individuals to use public transport or Voi. However, 18 bus services will be lost in November and a further 10 community transport services have recently ended. Buses in Bristol are also often inaccessible and unaffordable for Disabled people.

Short Exemption Period: While there is an exemption period for blue badge holders this only lasts until March 2023. You must register your Blue Badge with Bristol City Council for this exemption to work and this exemption is only valid on one car. This registering can only be done by using the internet or by phoning up. If you usually use your Blue Badge in multiple cars, you will have to register multiple cars with Blue Badge in advance of travelling. After this period the only exemption is to become registered Disabled Road tax class, which can only be applied for by those on higher or enhanced benefits. Benefits (such as PIP) get denied often and unfairly, so people can lose their exemption. This puts the burden on the individual to appeal the PIP decision to become registered Disabled Road tax again.

Unaffordable Charges: The daily charge is £9 and people have only 6 days to pay before getting fined £120. This is unaffordable when Disabled people make up over a third of adults in poverty. 6 days to pay is unreasonable for people who also face considerable other barriers and may experience cognitive dysfunction. You can only pay for this by using the internet or by phone and you don’t receive an alert if you have entered the zone and need to pay.

Accessibility of service information: The Clean Air Zone team understands accessible information as meaning non-technical language. We need all forms of the Clean Air Zone information to be fully accessible for Disabled people, including Easy Read and BSL.


It doesn’t have to be this way. We call on the council to make the following changes to make the scheme just:

  1. Increased financial support for those who need to re-adapt vehicles.
  2. Continued exemption for Blue Badge Holders or other exemptions for those who aren’t Disabled Tax class eligible.
  3. Exemptions to include Disabled people or those with long term health conditions who are unemployed or retired.
  4. More accessible options to contact the CAZ team and pay fines.
  5. Automatic notifications for people driving into the CAZ so they don’t unknowingly get faced with fines.
  6. An extended period to pay before being issued a fine.
  7. Disability Equality training for phone line operators so that they can talk appropriately to Disabled people.
  8. All information to have Easy Read versions ready.
  9. A fully accessible Clean Air Zone webpage.  (Accessible here referring to meeting the needs of Disabled people.)
  10. Make accessible and affordable public transport a priority.

The cost of clean air can’t be the independence of Disabled people. But with a little care the scheme could be made fair for all.

Making a complaint

A citizen can make a complaint by:

  1. Filling in a complaints form on the council website https://www.bristol.gov.uk/complaints-and-feedback/other-complaints-and-feedback
  2. Sending an email to complaints.feedback@bristol.gov.uk
  3. Writing to Customer Relations (100 TS), PO Box 3399, Bristol, ​​​​​​​BS1 9NE

The Forum will be taking more action on this issue. More news on this to come soon.

Disability drop in at Hartcliffe Church Thursday 25th August from Bristol City Council’s Community Development Team

Various coloured squares (one pink, one green, one orange, one white with a drawing of an umbrella on) on top of a blue background with black text on all of the poster. Poster text reads: "Whats life like for you? Thursday 25th August 5.30pm - 7pm. You are invited to Hartcliffe Methoist Church Mowcroft Rd BS13 0LT. Come and join Sam & Claire to chat about your experiences, interests, skills and what you would like to see happen in your community! For more info, email: sam.parker@bristol.gov.uk or claire.mcneil@bristol.gov.uk. Tel: Sam: 07775 227285 Claire: 07876814604."

Sam and Claire from the Community Development Team at Bristol City Council are hosting a drop-in session for Disabled people who live in Hartcliffe, Bristol.

The drop-in event is taking place this Thursday (25th September) 5.30pm to 7pm at Hartcliffe Methodist Church, Mowcroft Road, Bristol, BS13 0LT.

Sam and Claire would very much like to learn where individuals go to socialise and connect with others and to find out what their interests and skills are and also what they  would like to see happen in Hartcliffe.

For more information, contact Sam by emailing sam.parker@bristol.gov.uk or phoning her on 07775227285 or contact Claire by emailing claire.mcneil@bristol.gov.uk or phoning her on 07876814604.

A Reminder on This Week’s RMT Rail Strikes

The second of the two national rail strikes that were mentioned in our last train updates post (which you can read here) is happening this week, on Thursday 18th and Saturday 20th August.

This strike is by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA). This includes on board and station staff from Great Western Railway (GWR), and signallers and managers at Network Rail.

GWR will be running very few services on both days, with many services not running at all. Disruption is also expected on Friday 19th August. This means that, if you are planning on travelling by train on any of these days you may need to check whether your train is running or not before you travel. You should only travel if needed, and if not you should travel by a different method or make other arrangements.

GWR and Network Rail will be updating their journey planners and they will be contacting customers who have booked journeys directly about the changes to train lines. You can find more information from GWR here: http://www.gwr.com/strike

More detailed information for the impact on the services in our area are below:

On Thursday 18th, very few services will travel between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads and Exeter St Davids, Bristol Temple Meads and Gloucester, and Cardiff Central to Bath Spa (via Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads). 

On Friday 19th, GWR will be running a few services which will start later than normal. 

On Saturday 20th, Bristol Temple Meads station will be closed.  Very few services will run between Bristol Parkway, Cardiff Central and London Paddington. No other services in the West of England will run.

Do you have views on the e-scooter trial and how it has affected you?

You may be aware that there is an e-scooter trial going on in Bristol. The University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE), has been commissioned by the West of England Combined Authority to evaluate the trial.

they would value responses to two surveys, but if you do choose to respond to one survey, you do not need to respond to the other as well.

Survey one: a questionnaire survey.

This survey aims to better understand the experiences of footway users in relation to the Voi e-scooters. Results will be anonymous, but UWE want to make sure disabled people’s views are captured and reported on. 

This survey can be completed on-line by clicking this link.

If you would like to respond to the survey by another means, please contact Tamara Bozovic either by email, tamara.bozovic@uwe.ac.uk, or writing to Tamara Bozovic, Centre for Transport and Society, Architecture and the Built Environment, Q-Block, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY, or telephoning 0117 328 2311 (please leave a message if there is no reply).

Survey two: a follow along survey.

The evaluation team would like to understand from street users issues in relation to navigating footways when there are parked e-scooters present. Would you be willing to volunteer to take part in a one-to-one survey with a researcher who follows you in streets in Bristol and during which you discuss the issues? If so, would you be able to contact Tamara Bozovic using the contact details above.

Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), Consultation Sessions and Community Grants Project

Image of the CfD's logo - purple circle with white text on top of it next to purple text and both sitting on a white background. The white text reads "CfD" and the purple text reads "Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People".

The Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing (CfD) have asked us to inform our community of their upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Consultation Sessions and their new Community Grants Project.

The AGM is taking place on Wednesday 24th August at Burges Salmon, One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Its speakers will be Justin Smith, CfD’s CEO, and Mark Gill, CfD’s Community Developmemt Officer.

You cna register to attend the AGM via the CfD’s Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/annual-general-meeting-tickets-387464014297

CfD are running consultation sessions as an opportunity for D/deaf and hard of hearing people to give their feedback, suggestions, opinions and views on the future of the Centre for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People. The feedback will help to shape the future of CfD.

Details of each of the consultation sessions are below:

D/deaf groups )BSL users)

Wednesday 31st August, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Burges Salmon, One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

Saturday 10th September, 1pm to 3pm, The Beehive Centre, 19A Stretford Rd, Whitehall, Bristol BS5 7AW

Hard of hearing groups (Live captions and induction loop system)

Friday 12th August, 10am to 12pm, on Zoom.

Monday 22nd August, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, on Zoom,

Tuesday 23rd August, 10am to 12pm, Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Bristol BS16 2QQ

Thursday 1st September, 6.30pm to 8.30pm, Burges Salmon, One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

Friday 16th September, 10am to 12pm, Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Bristol BS16 2QQ

Please register your place and get the Zoom details by contacting CfD by email office@cfd.org.uk or phone 0345 900 7830. More sessions are also being arranged – check the CfD Facebook page for updates.

The CfD have also set up their own community grants fund for deaf and hard of hearing people, who can apply funding to support existing groups and their activities or the start-up of new groups.

More information on the Connunity Grant project can be found on the PDF below.

Upcoming Rail Strikes in August

There will be national rail strikes happening both on Saturday 13th August and from Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st August.

Both strikes are from different train unions – this Saturday’s is by Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF), whilst next weekend’s is by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

Great Western Railway (GWR) and South Western Railway will be running very few services. This means that, if you are planning on travelling by train on any of these days you may need to check whether your train is running or not.

GWR will be updating their journey planners and they will be contacting some customers about the changes to train lines. You can find more information from GWR here: http://www.gwr.com/strike

South Western Railway will also be updating their website of what trains will be running and you can find out more information here: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/industrial-action

 ALonely Tour – A narrative on Loneliness

Poster - black and white photograph of an older man sitting on his own with a book on a bench in a park with white text overlapping the photo at the top of the photo within a white lined border. The text reads: "ALonely. A narrative on loneliness."

What is it?

Community actors sharing authentic stories and conversations about loneliness from older people in Bristol. Running time of performance approx. 40 minutes (audience encouraged to stay and have a picnic after).

Why should I come?

A chance to meet new people and have a chat with them and the community actors about loneliness, Bristol and any other topics (unfortunately picnic not provided).

Where is it?

In September 2022, performances held at 12pm and 2pm.

19th at acta Garden,  Gladstone St, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 3AY

20th at Malcolm X Community Centre, 141 City Rd, St Paul’s, Bristol BS2 8YH

21st at Owen Square Park, Chelsea Rd, Easton, Bristol BS5 6AL

22nd at Filwood Community Centre Barnstaple Rd, Bristol BS4 1JP

To attend, no need to book, meet at the entrance to the venue and the audience will walk together to the show.

For more info, please call 07956962422 or email ilop@bs3community.org.uk.

People Power Project from Bristol City Council

People Power Project is a new project from Bristol City Council that aims to explore individual and collective power. They are offering free training in multi-media, storytelling and asset based practice to anyone who would like to tell their story or story of someone / a group who have been involved in or are involved in positive action, no matter how big or small and who would like to help shape the project or be part of a city wide event.

For more information, get in touch with Julia Williams by emailing julia.williams2@bristol.gov.uk or phoning 07741834552.

Luminarium from Bristol Light Festival

Poster of brightly coloured shapes with white text on top of it. The text reads "Bristol Light Festival presents Luminarium by Architects of Air. 4 - 14th August, 1-7pm, College Green. A sensory experience of light and colour. Free to attend and open to all. bristollightfestival.org"

Luminarium is a really amazing free installation, accessible to all, that Bristol Light Festival are excited to be bringing to the city for the summer holidays. 

You can find more details on their website here: https://bristollightfestival.org/luminarium

Free tickets are available to book online, but they also take walk-ups. They also have some special sessions on offer including for Sensory-Friendly Sessions and Relaxed Sessions.

Sensory-Friendly Sessions: Thursday 11th August – Sunday 14th August 10:00-11:40 (last admission 11:15)
These sessions have been designed with assistance from Bristol Autism Support and are dedicated to children and adults with sensory needs and their carers. These sessions are reserved solely for this purpose and therefore can only be booked by contactingsabrina@bristolcitycentrebid.co.uk. Please also get in touch if there is anything specific we can help with in advance of your visit.

Relaxed Sessions: Every day between 15:00-16:00 (last admission 16:30) 
Luminarium is accessible to wheelchair users and individuals requiring mobility support. Relaxed sessions are dedicated to clinically vulnerable individuals and those with complex needs who would benefit from a quieter session. There will be a reduced number of visitors within this sessions and we encourage people to wear masks where possible. Please be mindful of customers with additional sensory needs and requirements to enjoy the space.

To book spaces for the Relaxed Sessions or General Sessions please visit the Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bristol-light-festival-presents-luminarium-tickets-382941296727

Upcoming Go Gentle show at the Exchange!

Square shaped balck box with two yellow photos of a musician (one in top left corner, other in bottom right corner) surrounded by yellow and white text and the logos for Exchange and Go Gentle. Text reads: "Perkie Frank Parris. Excahnge Bristol Aug 13th 2pm. Tickets available at Headfirst.com."

After a long break due to booking issues, covid and Brexit, Exchange Bristol are very happy to announce the next Go Gentle relaxed matinee show at Exchange! 

13th August, Eat Up! presents Perkie and Frank Paris 

Book tickets at: https://hdfst.uk/E77244

The show will start at the usual time of 2pm.  

PWYC (Pay What you Can), but recommended price is £5

As usual, we wanted local accessibility groups to have the opportunity to share the ticket information before we promoted the shows. The links above will go on general release on Friday.

Go Gentle shows aim to be as accessible and welcoming as possible.