Leeds is pushing ahead with deploying a clean air charging zone from 2020, which will target HGVs, buses, coaches, taxis and private hire – but not cars or vans.
The city was listed in the December 2015 UK Air Quality Plan as one of five needing to deploy a CAZ by 2020 to ensure compliance with the EU Directive on air quality – along with Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton – with the plan having since been superseded by the July 2017 UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.
Announced at the end of last year, the ‘Class B’ zone has now been through two rounds of consultation that has seen the boundary area and proposed tariff for non-compliant buses reduced. The council has also halved the Government’s recommended £100 fee for non-compliant HGVs and will offer an initial ‘sunset clause’ that provides a CAZ charge exemption for hauliers that can prove that they have got a Euro VI truck on order.
The final plans – which have now been submitted to Defra for approval – will see a clean air charging zone covering more than half of the city (see interactive map here) introduced from 6 January 2020 and monitored using a network of purpose-built cameras.
The zone is expected to improve air quality both inside and outside of the zone. The council is requesting £13m (based on current best estimates) in funding from the government’s £255m Implementation Fund to cover costs associated with the infrastructure and operation of the zone.
It’s also requesting £27m (based on current best estimates) in funding from the government’s £220m Clean Air Fund to support local businesses to upgrade or retrofit affected vehicles through grants and interest-free loans.
However, the BVRLA has still expressed its concerns over the impact of the plans and said it had made it clear that “CAZs can be an important tool in tackling air quality issues in heavily polluted areas, but any introduction must be balanced against the potential impact they might have on the wider economy and people’s quality of life”.