Clean Air Charging Zone plans approved by government

Leeds City Council have been given final approval and more than £29 million in funding from the government to implement a Clean Air Charging Zone in the city and support businesses affected.

The Clean Air Charging Zone will reduce air pollution in Leeds by encouraging businesses to transition to cleaner, less polluting vehicles that are not subject to charges for driving within the zone boundary.

Only owners of the worst polluting heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), coaches, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles will be subject to charges. Private cars, vans or motorcycles will not be charged.

To help businesses based within the zone boundary transition to cleaner vehicles and avoid daily charges, the government has confirmed that £23 million of the £29 million total funding will be available to support affected businesses.

 

Cllr James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment said:

“Having now received the green light from the government, our priority is to ensure the successful delivery of the Clean Air Charging Zone as required by Ministerial Direction over the next fifty weeks.

“Businesses that are likely to be affected need to look at the vehicles they operate and begin their final preparations for the introduction of the zone.

“We recognise that this will be a difficult transition for some businesses to make. We have not received the full amount of funding that we asked the government for, however, we are pleased to confirm today that a number of significant financial support packages will be available to assist owners of affected vehicles. We will be working hard to make sure this money is available swiftly. 

“Leeds City Council will not make money from these charges. Charge revenue will only be used to cover the costs of operating the CAZ, to support owners of affected vehicles, and for other schemes to improve air quality in the city.

 

The plans come after the government instructed Leeds City Council to tackle air pollution in Leeds as soon as possible after finding that parts of the city would likely fail legal air quality levels by 2020.

Evidence shows that spending time in areas with high levels of air pollution can worsen symptoms of asthma, damage our lungs and reduce our life expectancy.

 

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:

Chad Newton

Communications and Marketing Officer

Tel: 01133 789849

Notes for editors:

How will Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone work?

The Clean Air Charging Zone will reduce air pollution in Leeds by encouraging businesses to transition to cleaner, less polluting vehicles that won’t be subject to charges. To help businesses do this the council will be offering a range of support packages for affected businesses based within the CAZ boundary.

Where will the Clean Air Charging Zone be?

The CAZ will cover more than half of Leeds but will improve air quality both inside and outside of its boundary. You can view a detailed interactive map of the proposed CAZ boundary.

Which vehicles will be charged for driving within the Clean Air Charging Zone?

Only the worst polluting heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles that do not comply with our minimum emissions standards will be charged for driving within the CAZ.

What support will be available for businesses affected by the Clean Air Charging Zone?

The following table outlines the financial support packages available for affected businesses in each sector, and the confirmed government funding available for each of these schemes.

Sector

Support package available

Funding

HGV

Grants of up to £15,000 per affected vehicle, subject to a funding competition.

£13.8 million

Non-Scheduled Buses / Coaches

Grants of up to £15,000 per affected vehicle, subject to a funding competition.

£2.0 million

Taxi / Private Hire 

Interest-free loans of up to £10,000 per affected vehicle, subject to meeting our eligibility criteria.

or

Grants of up to £1,500 per affected vehicle, subject to meeting our eligibility criteria.

£7.3 million

Will private motorists, vans or other light goods vehicles (LGVs) be charged for driving within the Clean Air Charging Zone?

No. All other vehicles—including light goods vehicles, private cars and motorcycles—will not be charged for driving within the zone. Only heavy goods vehicles, buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles that do not meet our minimum emissions standards will be charged daily for driving within the zone. For a full explanation of why we are not proposing to charge private vehicles, please see our blog post: ‘Our Clean Air Charging Zone proposals won’t charge private cars. This is why.’ (external link).

Will Leeds City Council make money from these charges?

Leeds City Council will not make money from these charges. Government regulation means that any charge revenue can only be used to cover the costs of operating the CAZ scheme or on other schemes that will also improve air quality in Leeds.

What are the daily charges?

You will be charged for driving within the CAZ if your vehicle fails to meet our minimum emission standards. Charges for each vehicle are outlined in the table below.

Vehicle type

Daily charge for non-compliant vehicles driving within the zone

Heavy goods vehicle (HGV)

£50

Bus

£50

Coach

£50

Taxi

£12.50(or £50 a week for Leeds-licensed vehicles)

Private Hire

£12.50(or £50 a week for Leeds-licensed vehicles)

Private cars, light goods vehicle (LGV), vans, motorcycles and any other vehicle.

No charge

To help businesses switch to cleaner vehicles and avoid charges, we are offering a range of support packages for affected businesses based within the CAZ boundary.

How will the Clean Air Charging Zone be monitored?

The CAZ will be constantly monitored using a network of purpose built cameras capable of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR). Some of these cameras will be fixed and some will be mobile. The cameras will be active 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

To cover the costs associated with these cameras and other infrastructure required for the operation of the zone, Leeds City Council has been given approximately £6.3 million in funding from the government.

Will traffic build up in other areas of the city?

Our modelling shows that our CAZ proposals will have minimal displacement of vehicles into other areas of the city. We are also working closely with Highways England and council departments responsible for transport in Leeds to further minimise any potential displacement.

Myths

Let's clear a few things up

Myth:

Cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to more air pollution than drivers

Fact:

Wrong. As well as being better for your health and fitness, evidence shows that cyclists and pedestrians are also less exposed to air pollution than people in vehicles. This is because your air filter probably doesn’t remove pollution from the air it circulates and being on the road itself means that your vehicles is surrounded by exhaust fumes. Pedestrians and cyclists are also less exposed because even 1 metre away from traffic, there is considerably less pollution than on the road itself.

Myth:

Turning your engine on and off again whilst sat in traffic releases more emissions than leaving it running.

Fact:

Whether you’re stuck in traffic or just waiting to pick someone up, if you think that your car might be stationary for more than 2 minutes it’s better to turn your engine off than leave it running. Doing so will reduce the amount of gases harmful to our health and the environment that your car emits. It’s an easy way to reduce your own contribution to air pollution!

News

All the latest from Clean Air Leeds

We know we need to improve air quality in the city and are committed to doing our bit to make a difference.

What we are doing