Leeds City Council is inviting residents, workers, and commuters to have their say on new proposals to reduce air pollution and protect the health of people in the city with a public consultation launched today (2 January 2018).
Proposals include introducing a Clean Air Zone that would charge buses, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles that fail to meet the latest emissions standards for entering.
A proposed zone would cover all roads within the outer ring road with the M1 and M62 as the south-eastern boundary but would not include vehicles that divert around the outer ring road, motorways, or vehicles which cross the city using the M621.
The consultation comes after the government instructed the council to outline plans to tackle air pollution in the city after identifying Leeds as being likely to fail legal air quality levels by 2020.
In Leeds, outdoor air pollution comes primarily from vehicle exhaust fumes, and in particular from older diesel vehicles.
Evidence shows that spending time in areas with high levels of air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms, damage lung function and is linked with an estimated 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.
Public responses to the consultation will shape the council’s final air quality proposal which will be presented to the government later in the year.
The final proposal will need to allow the city to comply with national air quality levels in the shortest possible timescale whilst considering the overall impact on Leeds—including financial impacts, inequality and the displacement of emissions to other areas.
To support businesses affected by the introduction of a Clean Air Zone, the council is exploring a number of fleet specific packages to provide financial support to help businesses make the transition to cleaner vehicles.
The key areas that the council are consulting on are;
- Introducing a Clean Air Zone covering roads within the outer ring road that would charge buses, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles which fail to meet the latest emissions standards for vehicles (Euro 6).
- Raising the emissions standard of taxi and private hire vehicles to ultra-low-emission vehicles and seeking funding to assist local drivers with the cost of replacing vehicles.
- A number of other clean air proposals that would work alongside the Clean Air Zone to help the city achieve compliance with legal air quality levels in the shortest possible timescale. These include exploring support packages to work with businesses and residents to increase the adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles, raising awareness of air pollution and actions that individuals can take, and working alongside the transport strategy to encourage people to shift their choice of transport.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment said:
“Reducing air pollution in Leeds is vitally important for the health of our city and something that we have to tackle now.
“I would urge everyone to take a few minutes out of their day to have their say on our plans for a charging clean air zone for Leeds and other proposals to reduce pollution.
“The comments we receive as part of this consultation will help us provide a rounded proposal to submit to government later this year and ensure we are asking for support in the right areas, making sure we have the right funding to deliver the best possible proposal for Leeds.”
The consultation is open until March 2 and can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/airqualityconsultation.