Leeds City Council has been given the go-ahead by the Government to implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city which will see the worst-polluting trucks, coaches, buses and private hire vehicles charged every time they drive within the zone.

Leeds has been given £29 million to help it to implement the scheme which it is planned to have operational by 6 January 2020.

Most of this money (£23 million) will be used to support small businesses based within the zone boundary and who want to acquire compliant vehicles in order to avoid daily charges.

Businesses using lorries, buses and coaches will be able to enter a funding competition to receive grants of up to £16,000 per affected vehicle.

Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment, said: “We are pleased to confirm today that a number of significant financial support packages will be available to assist owners of affected vehicles. We will be working hard to make sure this money is available swiftly.”

Having recently welcomed one authority’s decision not to adopt this method of cutting air pollution (see Hauliers hail Nottingham’s air quality plans), it is not surprising that the haulage industry is unhappy with the Leeds decision.

Describing the planned £50 per day charge as punitive, Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “Charging pre-Euro VI HGVs to enter the clean air zone is simply a tax on the industry sector that Leeds relies on to maintain its economy, and local businesses will inevitably be put at risk.”

One result is likely to be an increase in van traffic, he pointed out, and, as it takes around 20 vans to move the same amount of goods as one lorry, he questions how this will improve air quality.

Last reviewed 14 March 2019