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).
Senior councillors will publicly discuss the plans at a meeting of the council’s executive board on Wednesday 17 October 2018 before they will be submitted to the government for approval.
As South Leeds Life reported in June, The CAZ will not include South Leeds. The council have responded to concerns that this will reduce the health impacts of the CAZ in some of the most deprived areas of the city, stating:
“Before reducing the boundary of the proposed Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ) Leeds City Council undertook detailed modelling and analysis to determine what impact this would have on air pollution. We found that reducing the boundary would not have a significant impact on air quality improvements (inside or outside of the zone) but would mitigate the economic impact on businesses within Leeds. Therefore, we believed that reducing the original boundary was the most reasonable action.”
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 6 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.
Cllr James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment, said:
“Like more than three quarters of residents, we believe that tackling air pollution should be a priority for Leeds.
“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. They will improve air quality within the shortest possible time, tackling air pollution and protecting the health of everyone in the city.
“A key element of these proposals is the support we’re proposing to help affected local businesses transition to cleaner vehicles which avoid charges. We believe that it is important to help local businesses in order for the zone to most successfully reduce pollution.
“We will therefore be asking the government for around £27 million (based on our current best estimates) from the national Clean Air Fund to enable us to help businesses transition to cleaner vehicles which avoid charges.
“We look forward to continuing working closely with the government to ensure the successful and timely delivery of the Clean Air Charging Zone in Leeds.”
More information on what Leeds City Council are already doing to tackle air pollution can be found on the official Clean Air Leeds website at: www.cleanairleeds.co.uk
You can read the full papers here on the Council website (Agenda item 8)