What are Leeds City Council doing to tackle air pollution?

Leeds City Council are taking a range of actions to improve air quality and protect the city’s residents, workers, and visitors from the serious health effects associated with breathing polluted air.

The Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ)


Leeds’ 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 daily charges. It will be one of the largest and first zones of its kind in the country.

To help affected vehicle owners switch to cleaner vehicles and avoid charges, we’ve secured more than £23 million of government funding to offer a range of support packages for affected businesses.

Find out more about how the zone will work, who is affected, and what exemptions are available at the link below.

Clean Air Charging Zone


Helping businesses to support sustainable travel



Leeds City Council has launched a £150,000 fund to help employers in Leeds support sustainable travel and reduce emissions.

The scheme will help tackle air pollution and protect the health of everyone in Leeds by allocating grants to the best proposals submitted that will reduce the use of diesel or petrol vehicles amongst staff, service users or other third parties.

Businesses, organisations and consortiums were able to propose any scheme that would reduce the number of journeys using a diesel or petrol vehicle or replace them with cleaner vehicles.

Sustainable travel funding


Investing in a low emission fleet


Leeds City Council is continuing to invest in cleaner, low emission vehicles.

We already use more electric vehicles than any other local authority in the country and we are proud to be a signatory of the national Clean Van Commitment.

Many zero and low emission vehicles are being used every day for a wide range of council services including: property maintenance, road sweeping, civil enforcement and refuse collection.

Not only are these vehicles better for the environment, they also help the council save money because of significantly cheaper lifetime costs than diesel or petrol vehicles. 

Clean Van Commitment


Raising awareness of engine idling


Every day thousands of drivers will idle their engines needlessly when parked or stationary, often unaware that they are wasting fuel and emitting harmful gases into the air around them.

Leeds City Council are raising awareness of idling with signs, leaflets, active engagement and a series of poster competitions in schools.

Studies show that when drivers learn about engine idling they are much less likely to idle in the future.

Find out more about what idling is, common idling myths, and what we’re doing to raise awareness of idling by visiting the link below.

Find out more about idling


Transforming transport and travel


Leeds City Council are working hard to improve public transport in Leeds as part of the Connecting Leeds and long-term Leeds City Region Connectivity transport strategies, both developed in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA). 

What we’ve already done

By working alongside our partners, we have already made a good start with:

  • 2 new rail stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge. Over half a million journeys were made at these stations during 2017/8.
  • Commitments from the three major bus companies (First Leeds, Arriva and Transdev) to ensure that their buses comply with the CAZ by meeting the latest emission standards. As of June 2019, 105 new, less polluting buses have been introduced.   
  • 2 new park and ride hubs at Elland Road and Temple Green, with over 10 million journeys already made. These have removed more than 9,000 cars from city centre roads every week. 
  • Reduced public off-street car parking by 15% since 2011, excluding park and ride spaces.
  • An expanded cycle network totalling over 148km across Leeds. This includes 23km of new, largely segregated cycle lanes connecting Bradford and Seacroft (East Leeds) to the city centre.
  • 14km of upgraded canal towpath, improving cycling and walking provision between Shipley and Kirkstall.
  • 132 bike parking spaces and 2,882 bike training sessions across 16 Leeds-based schools through our ‘Bike Friendly Schools’ programme.
  • 141 businesses engaged with as part of the ‘Bike Friendly Businesses’ programme.
What we’ll be doing soon

We have even more ambitious plans including: 

  • Plans to redevelop Leeds Station worth £500 million. The plans will include HS2 proposals, a new station campus, multiple entrances and a common concourse.
  • Proposals for 3 new train stations at White Rose, Thorpe Park and Leeds Bradford Airport Parkway.
  • Improving the reliability and frequency of core bus services with a new High Frequency Bus Network.
  • Installing 1,000 new bus stops across Leeds by 2021. Each will have real-time information. 
  • 4km of fully segregated cycle lanes in the city centre, 
  • 16km of dedicated cycle route between Castleford, Wakefield and Leeds, in partnership with SusTrans and Wakefield Council.
  • A new 1,200 space park and ride hub at Stourton with five fully-electric buses, serving South Leeds and beyond.
  • Proposals for a dedicated park and ride hub in Alwoodley Gates serving North Leeds, Harrogate and beyond.
  • Expanding the Elland Road and Temple Green park and ride hubs to add a combined 950 more spaces.
  • Making all rail stations in Leeds fully accessible by 2020, as part of WYCA’s station improvement fund.

Find out more about Connecting Leeds


Participating in Clean Air Day


Leeds City Council is once again taking part in the nation's biggest air quality awareness campaign. This year, organisations and individuals across the city are working hard to make it the biggest and best yet. 

There will be lots to see and do as well as plenty of opportunities to learn about air pollution from experts. As well as activities in the city centre we’re also closing roads outside of 11 schools as part of the Play Streets scheme.

Find out more about Clean Air Day 2019


Promoting low emission vehicles

Diesel and petrol vehicles are the biggest contributor to outdoor air pollution in Leeds however low emission vehicles are becoming increasingly popular.

As well as emitting fewer harmful gases into the air around us, electric vehicles are also better for your bank account; costing significantly less over a lifetime than diesel or petrol vehicles.
Leeds City Council supports residents choosing to drive low emission vehicles. We recognise that those who do so are voluntarily reducing their own emissions and improving the quality of our air.

To make living with low emission vehicles even more affordable, residents driving some low emission vehicles can enjoy free city centre parking at council operated sites through our ultra-low emission vehicle permit scheme until 31 March 2020.

Find out more about low emission vehicle permits


Developing infrastructure for low emission vehicles


Leeds City Council are investing in electric vehicle infrastructure to make living with ultra-low emission vehicles convenient and easy. 

Increasing public charge points

When surveyed last year, many residents and businesses told us that they’d be more likely to switch to a low emission vehicle if there were more places to charge. We’re working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and ENGIE to install 30 new rapid EV charge points across Leeds that will be free to use until October 2021. 

These will supplement the more than 150 public live charge points across Leeds that can be seen on Zap Map.

If you’d like to install an electric vehicle charge point at your home or workplace then you may be eligible to receive government funding towards the cost of installation.

New rapid charge points across West Yorkshire

View live charge points on Zap Map

Find out more about government grants for EV charging infrastructure

Increasing private charge points

To ensure that every new development in Leeds—whether it is public or private—is ready for low emission vehicles, Leeds City Council has proposed an innovative planning policy that is currently awaiting government approval. 

For developers of residential builds, this policy will require every new parking space to include an EV charge point. For developers of non-residential projects (such as schools, offices, retail parks and multi-storey car parks), this will require one EV charge point to be installed for every 10 new parking spaces.


Innovating new solutions to tackle air pollution


As technology continues to develop it becomes possible to tackle air pollution in new and more effective ways. Leeds City Council have collaborated with innovators from across the UK to research and develop cutting edge clean air technology that can be used in Leeds and beyond.

Project ACCRA

The Autonomous and Connected Vehicles for Cleaner Air (ACCRA) project developed and tested a new technology to reduce air pollution emissions from hybrid vehicles as “proof of concept”. The technology autonomously switched a vehicle’s engines to zero-emission mode when driving through more polluted areas. Following the success of the project, industry partners are continuing to develop the technology and are exploring how to make it commercially available.

For more information, watch the video below.

ACCRA was an alliance between Leeds City Council, Cenex, the Transport Systems Catapult, Earthsense, Dynniq and Tevva Motors.

Find out more about the ACCRA project

Testing liquid nitrogen engines

Leeds City Council partnered with Cenex and Dearman as part of an award-winning nine month trial of Dearman’s ground breaking liquid nitrogen engines.

Liquid nitrogen engines are designed to power transport refrigeration units (TRUs) used in lorries to keep food and other goods cold whilst on the road. 

he trial found that engines powered by liquid nitrogen could significantly reduce air pollution and could be cost effective.

For more information on this study, click one of the links below.

New technology is the coolest way to tackle air pollution

Find out more about the Dearman engine


Educating the next generation


Leeds City Council believe that schools can play an important role in educating our children and young people about the effects and sources of air pollution.

We’re teaching pupils about air quality, tackling idling outside of the school gates, promoting sustainable and active travel, and hosting educational competitions for schools to get involved in.

What can schools do?