Clean Air Zone for Leeds to be launched in September

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LEEDS City Council has confirmed that the city’s Clean Air Charging Zone will go live on 28 September.

From this date buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles, taxis and private hire vehicles which fail to meet minimum emissions standards will be charged for driving within the zone’s boundary.

The zone comes after the government directed Leeds City Council to tackle air pollution in Leeds as soon as possible after finding that parts of the city would likely exceed legal air quality limits.

Councillor James Lewis, Executive Member with responsibility for air quality, commented on the announcement: “Having been forced to delay the introduction of the zone last year due to delays to government systems, I am delighted that we are now able to confirm a go-live date for the Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone giving affected businesses clarity to help them prepare for the zone’s introduction.

“We’re already seeing improvements to our city’s air quality thanks to the thousands of drivers that have already switched to less-polluting vehicles.

“As more businesses switch to cleaner vehicles to avoid charges we will no doubt continue to deliver even more improvements.

“With six months before the zone takes effect, it is now time for businesses to prepare.

“I would strongly encourage those who may be affected to check their vehicle and find out more about the financial support and exemptions available by visiting our website.”

The Zone was originally planned to go live in January but the launch was postponed in June 2019 due to a ‘government delay in delivering digital systems’ required for the zones.

Since Leeds announced plans for a Clean Air Zone, significant improvements in air quality have already been observed across the city as vehicle operators prepare for the zone’s introduction by switching to cleaner vehicles.

For example, the annual trend for air pollution has fallen well below legal limits on the A660 as a result of lower emission bus services being introduced on the route.

Ahead of the zone’s introduction, the council is supporting affected vehicle owners and operators to transition to lower emissions vehicles that won’t be charged.

More than £5.4 million in financial support has so far been awarded to help local businesses switch to cleaner vehicles and an additional £3.1 million has been provisionally approved.

Licensing data shows that taxi and private hire operators have introduced more than 1,200 low emission hybrid, electric and LPG-powered vehicles since the zone was confirmed as diesel and petrol models have been replaced.

Additionally the council has helped operators of HGVs, buses and coaches to upgrade or retrofit more than 253 vehicles.

The council continues to reduce its own emissions by growing its fleet of electric vehicles, already the largest of any local authority in the country, to 266 vehicles.

An online vehicle checker – launched last month by central government – is available for individuals to check whether they will be affected by the Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone or other similar zones in the country.