Leeds CAZ: Freight operators urged to apply for financial help ‘sooner rather th

Leeds CAZ: Freight operators urged to apply for financial help ‘sooner rather than later’

Hauliers affected by the introduction of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Leeds are being urged to apply for funding assistance to upgrade or retrofit their non-compliant vehicles.

Leeds City Council has £23 million of financial support available, with £13.8 million earmarked for HGV vehicles, to assist owners and operators with the costs of switching to less polluting vehicles that won’t be charged for driving within the CAZ, which comes into force on 6 January 2020.

Operators of HGVs will be able to apply for up to £16,000 per affected vehicle  (up to a maximum of five vehicles) from today (March 18). The application window for HGV support is planned to close on the 15 April, and businesses will find out if they have been successful in the week commencing 17 June.

Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Management Policy at the Freight Transport Association, said: “It is good to see Leeds looking seriously at helping operators to upgrade their vehicles to avoid charges to operate and service in the Leeds CAZ area. However, we suspect that there will be high demand on that funding so we are urging operators to apply as early as possible.”

Cllr James Lewis, Executive member with responsibility for sustainability and resources at Leeds City Council, said: “Having received the green light for it in January, Leeds City Council are working hard to ensure the successful delivery of the Clean Air Charging Zone by January 6.

 “We recognise that this transition will be difficult for some businesses to make. However, we are pleased to confirm that £23 million of financial support is being made available to directly help those affected.

“By making the switch to cleaner vehicles more affordable for local businesses, this financial support will minimise the zone’s economic impact whilst helping to improve air quality in Leeds.

“With a finite amount of government funding available, we are prioritising support for owners of taxi and private hire vehicles licensed by Leeds City Council.

“Businesses that are likely to be affected need to look at the vehicles they operate and begin taking steps to prepare for the introduction of the zone."

The following criteria will apply to all HGV applicants:

·        Businesses must have a UK company bank account

·        Businesses must only apply for financial support for vehicles that don't qualify for an exemption or don't meet the emissions standards.

·        Businesses must use any replacement or retrofitted vehicle partially or fully funded by grant funding within the CAZ boundary and for the purpose described as part of a support application for at least three consecutive years after any grant funding has been awarded

·        If the total cost of replacing or retrofitting a non-compliant vehicle is less than £16,000, businesses must only apply for the grant value required to cover the true cost.

·        If the total cost of replacing or retrofitting a non-compliant vehicle is greater than £16,000, businesses will be required to fund the difference

·        Businesses must not apply for financial support for more than five vehicles

·        Businesses must have been trading or operational for at least 12 months prior to making an application

·        Businesses must not apply for financial support if the requested grant value would result in a company receiving a greater amount of state aid funding than regulations permit. European funding that qualifies as state aid (issued by local, regional or national governments) is currently capped at €100,000 for freight operators and €200,000 for non-freight operators over a three year period.

 Grant funding can be used in any of the following ways:

·        Purchasing a compliant HGV (new or second-hand) to replace a HGV that does not meet emissions standards;

·        Purchasing an approved fitting of a CVRAS fully accredited retrofit solution from a recognised supplier for a non-compliant HGV;

·        Paying exit fees for a lease agreement that covers a non-compliant HGV on the condition that a new lease agreement is signed for a replacement HGV that complies with emissions standards.

 Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/cleanairzone to find out more about how the CAZ will work and the financial support packages available.