Leeds City Council is set to introduce a Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ) across more than half the city in January 2020. The worst polluting buses, coaches and HGVs that fail to meet the council’s minimum emissions standard will pay a £50 daily charge.
A Leeds City Council spokesman told LTT: “Our proposals are that the worst polluting taxi and private hire vehicles that don’t meet our minimum emissions standard would only be required to pay £12.50 a day or alternatively £50 a week if they pay in advance and are Leeds registered.”
The zone will be monitored using a network of ANPR cameras, with a charge imposed on the worst polluting heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches and private hire vehicles. Light goods vehicles and private vehicles would not be charged, the council says.
“There will be a network of ANPR cameras around the perimeter and within the zone,” said the spokesman. “Some of these will be mobile so that it isn’t possible to avoid the cameras by taking certain routes.”
The authority is seeking £27m funding from the government’s £220m Clean Air Fund to support local businesses to upgrade or retrofit vehicles through grants and interest-free loans. It will also be requesting £13m from the Government’s £255m Implementation Fund to cover costs associated with the infrastructure and operation of the zone.
“The plans we’re putting forward have been carefully developed following months of consultation with thousands of residents and local businesses to ensure they are the best plans for Leeds,” said the spokesman.
“We are confident that we will secure the requested level of funding for implementing the Clean Air Charging Zone. Our request for funding to support affected businesses is based on the best estimates of costs and take up of our support packages. This funding request will be subject to further refinement as we work closely with government to secure the final support package.”
The council says it has drawn up the proposals after being instructed by the Government to tackle air pollution as some parts of the city are likely to fail legal air quality levels by 2020.
James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment, said that three-quarters of residents believed that improving air quality should be a priority in Leeds.
“The plans we’re putting forward have been carefully developed following months of consultation with thousands of resident and local businesses to ensure they are the best plans for Leeds,” said Lewis.
But Paul Mummery of the Road Haulage Association argued that Leeds City Council’s plans for a charge would result in hauliers switching from lorries to vans, which would exacerbate pollution and congestion.
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