Leeds to introduce CAZ, but cars and light vans escape entry charges
Leeds City Council is to press ahead with the
introduction of a Clean Air Zone from 6 January, 2020 with charges targeted at
HGVs, buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles, but cars and light vans
will be excluded from any charge.
The Clean Air Zone will cover around 55% of the city with
the worst polluting HGVs, buses and coaches charged £50 per day to enter and
taxis and private hire vehicles £12.50 a day or £50
a week (only available to Leeds’ licensed drivers). Charges will apply to
vehicles that fail to meet Euro6/VI diesel and Euro4 petrol emission standards.
The Clean Air Zone will be monitored using a network of purpose-built
However, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing
Association (BVRLA) claimed that the Council was “pricing trucks out of Leeds”
and that such a move was “not the way forward”
The Council is requesting £27 million 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.
A further £13 million is being requested 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
“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 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".
The Clean Air Zone decision has come despite considerable
consultation between the Council and fleet industry representatives. The BVRLA
joined with the Council and the Energy Savings Trust earlier this year in
hosting a round table to discuss air quality issues and proposals for a Leeds Clean
Air Zone. At this meeting the BVRLA and its members outlined a range of
alternatives to a charging Clean Air Zone and ways of reducing the impact of a
zone if introduced.
Throughout its engagement with Leeds and other cities,
the BVRLA said it had made it clear that Clean Air Zones could be an important
tool in tackling air quality issues in heavily polluted areas, but any
introduction must be balanced against the potential impact they might have on
the wider economy and people’s quality of life.
The BVRLA said that the Council had given some
consideration to the arguments and suggestions made by the BVRLA as it had halved
the government’s recommended £100 fee for non-compliant HGVs and would offer an
initial ‘sunset clause’ that provides a Clean Air Zone charge exemption for
hauliers that could prove that they had got a Euro VI emission truck on order.
Nonetheless, the BVRLA said it believed that more action
was desperately required to support the industry.
Chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “Our members will be
on hand to rent or lease compliant HGVs to many local fleets that are
struggling to find compliant vehicles, but it is doubtful whether there will be
enough Euro VI truck capacity to meet every need.
“The decision to charge hauliers is short sighted and
very frustrating. It is an extra burden on operators who will have to pass
costs on to the consumer.
“Unlike cars and vans, HGV operators have no option to go
electric. Operators will face huge costs in replacing non-compliant vehicles
with the latest trucks that meet Euro VI emission standards - there are no
retrofit solutions available at present.
“We are particularly concerned about smaller businesses,
many of whom operate on extremely tight margins and will not be able to upgrade
their fleet in time. According to Traffic Commissioner data, 54,800 SMEs were
involved in road haulage last year and 52% of lorries operate in fleets of less
than 20. These are exactly the type of businesses we need to support with
incentives, not penalise with unavoidable charges.”
Earlier this year the BVRLA joined with the Road Haulage
Association, Freight Transport Association and National Franchised Dealers
Association in meeting Transport Minister Jesse Norman and Environment Minister
Therese Coffey to share a six-point plan for Clean Air Zones.
The plan - ‘The Way Forward’ - set out recommendations
the four trade bodies believed could help improve air quality whilst protecting
haulage from punitive charges and bureaucracy. It called for consistent Clean
Air Zone operating standards, smarter use of road space, and a phased approach
supporting the transition to cleaner vehicles that did not put operators out of