Leeds seeks to delay Clean Air Zone again and push back September start date
The introduction of Leeds’ Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is likely to be delayed again, due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.
Originally due to come into force on 1 January 2020, it was delayed to 28 September 2020 due to problems with the online vehicle checking service that is needed to help operators and drivers to check if their vehicle is compliant.
Leeds’ Class B CAZ will cover over half of Leeds city centre, with HGVs, buses and coaches to be charged £50 per day for travelling in the zone if they fail to meet the minimum emissions standards.
Taxis and private hire vehicles will be charged £12.50 per day, or a reduced rate of £50 per week if the vehicles are licensed in Leeds.
According to the city council, since Leeds first announced plans for a CAZ, ‘significant improvements’ in air quality have already been observed across the city as businesses who work inside the zone have switched to compliant vehicles.
The council has so far offered £5.4m in financial support to help local businesses make the switch and an additional £3.1m 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.
Earlier this month, confirming the revised date of 28 September 2020 Cllr James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for air quality, said: "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."