Last reviewed 2 August 2021

A report being considered by cabinet members at Newcastle and Gateshead councils sets out updated proposals and a revised timeline for introducing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to cut harmful traffic emissions.

Councillors are being asked to note the revised clean air measures and the intention to introduce them next summer — with a provisional date of July 2022 being set out in the report. The plans include financial support for those likely to be affected by charging and details of grants that will be offered, subject to government approval, to help those affected to upgrade their vehicles will be announced in the autumn.

The zone will cover Newcastle city centre as well as routes over the Tyne, Swing, High Level and Redheugh bridges and will apply to all taxis, vans, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) that do not meet national Clean Air Zone emissions standards.

Previous proposals for lane restrictions to manage and reduce traffic on the Tyne Bridge are no longer included in the plans. This is because new analysis has shown that air quality targets can be met in 2022 without this additional measure being in place alongside the Clean Air Zone. This will also reduce the likelihood of traffic re-routing through other areas.

Similar CAZ schemes are already operating in Birmingham and Bath with others also planned in Bristol, Manchester, Bradford and Portsmouth. Newcastle and Gateshead councils are both under a legal direction from the Government to take action on air pollution levels.

Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, said: “The effect of having lower traffic levels during lockdowns does demonstrate that our actions and transport choices can have a positive impact on our air quality. Unfortunately, however, traffic levels are now back to pre-Covid levels, with pollution also rising again.”