Clean Air Zone

Leeds City Council has outlined its final plans to reduce air pollution and protect the health of everyone in Leeds, including the introduction of a Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ).

The plans must now be submitted to the government for their approval.

The key elements of the council’s proposals are as follows:

  • A Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ) covering more than half of the city will be introduced from 6th January 2020 and monitored using a network of purpose-built cameras. An interactive map showing the proposed zone boundary is available online. The zone will improve air quality both inside and outside of the zone.
  • Charging the worst polluting heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles only. Light goods vehicles (LGVs) and private vehicles would not be charged.
  • Requesting £27 million (based on current best estimates) in funding from the government’s £220 million Clean Air Fund to support local businesses to upgrade or retrofit affected vehicles through grants and interest-free loans.
  • Requesting £13 million (based on current best estimates) in funding from the government’s £255 million Implementation Fund to cover costs associated with the infrastructure and operation of the zone.

The proposals come after the government instructed the council to outline plans to tackle air pollution in Leeds after identifying some parts of the city as being likely to fail legal air quality levels by 2020.

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

What is air pollution?

Air pollution is the term we use to describe gases and particles in the air that we breathe and are harmful to our health.

We can’t always see it but air pollution has serious implications for our health.

Evidence shows that spending time in areas with high levels of air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms, damage our lungs and is linked with an estimated 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.

Why do we need to reduce air pollution

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has identified Leeds as one of many U.K. cities unlikely to comply with legal air quality levels by 2020.

As a result of this, the government have instructed Leeds City Council to introduce a CAZ and take other actions to reduce air pollution as soon as possible in order to ensure that outdoor air pollution in Leeds does not exceed legal air quality levels.

Leeds City Council has both a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that no community in our city is forced to breathe illegal levels of polluted air. A failure to act could result in the council being charged with huge fines and, more importantly, potentially fatal consequences for local residents and workers.

How were these proposals developed?

The proposals that we are consulting on are a result of many months of work and have been informed by comprehensive research and consultation including:

  • An informal consultation completed by almost 9,000 residents, visitors and businesses. Guidance from the government.
  • Public engagement events with more than 80 trade groups and drop in engagement events attended by hundreds of residents.
  • An economic analysis undertaken by independent experts.
  • Detailed modelling into the impact on traffic and vehicles emissions of various types/areas of CAZ.
What are Leeds City Council currently doing to reduce air pollution in the city?

Find out more about what Leeds City Council are currently doing to reduce air pollution in the city

Downloads: October Executive Board Report





Let's clear a few things up


Cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to more air pollution than drivers


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.


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


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!


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

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