Leeds City Council has been given final approval from the government to implement a Clean Air Charging Zone
in the city.
Hauliers with vehicles that fall below Euro VI emission levels will be charged £50 per day for driving within the zone from February 6 2020.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said around half the lorry fleet is pre-Euro VI and branded the charges as "punitive".
RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “Charging pre-Euro VI HGVs to enter the clean air zone is simply a punitive tax on the industry sector that Leeds relies on to maintain its economy, and local businesses will inevitably be put at risk.
“The goods still have to be delivered and there’s a strong possibility that there will be a considerable increase in van traffic. However, it takes approximately 20 vans to move the same amount of goods as one HGV so how will that improve air quality? This is yet another example of the government and local authorities using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”
The Government has allocated £29 million to fund the scheme - with £23 million being used to support affected businesses. The council had submitted a £40 million bid to fund the scheme in October 2018, but this was rejected by the Government who then asked the council to resubmit its plans and ask for less money.
Up to £13.8 million will be set aside for hauliers and transport operators with grants of up to £16,000 per affected HGV available, but this funding will be allocated via a competition process.
Owners of non-Euro VI heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), coaches, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles will all be subject to the new charges. Private cars, vans or motorcycles will not be charged.
Cllr James Lewis, Leeds City Council, said: “Having now received the green light from the government, our priority is to ensure the successful delivery of the Clean Air Charging Zone as required by Ministerial Direction over the next 50 weeks.
“Businesses that are likely to be affected need to look at the vehicles they operate and begin their final preparations for the introduction of the zone.
“We recognise that this will be a difficult transition for some businesses to make. We have not received the full amount of funding that we asked the government for, however, 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.
“Leeds City Council will not make money from these charges. Charge revenue will only be used to cover the costs of operating the CAZ, to support owners of affected vehicles, and for other schemes to improve air quality in the city.
The Government has instructed Leeds City Council to tackle air pollution in Leeds as soon as possible after finding that parts of the city would likely fail legal air quality levels by 2020.
Posted on: January 22nd 2019