City leaders urge funding for national ‘Class D’ CAZ network
UK majors and city leaders are urging the Government and the private sector to provide £1.5bn in funding for a national network of 30 ‘Class D’ Clean Air Zones (CAZs) that would include charges on private cars as well as commercial vehicles.
Although the Government has made £220m of Clean Air Fund (CAF) spending available under the current CAF over the period 2018/19-2020/21 for CAZs, the UK100 group is seeking Government support for an enhanced CAF, including for London which has historically been excluded from the scheme. The extra funding would enable the delivery of CAZs across the UK and support a national fleet renewal programme to deliver WHO air quality standards.
A report carried out by consultants at CEPA for UK100 finds such a CAZ network could see an economic return of £6.5bn if cars were included: as private cars often account for a large proportion of NO2 in the air (e.g. 40% in Bristol), their inclusion in CAZ restrictions often strengthens the strategic (and economic) case for such zones.
And, where cities are struggling to achieve residents’ support for including certain types of vehicles in the CAZ, a Clean Air Fund can play an important role in mitigating the negative impact of the CAZ while assisting groups who might otherwise find it difficult to achieve compliance.
Polly Billington, director of UK100, said: “Cleaning up the air in our towns and cities makes sound economic sense and this study demonstrates that. It will boost the health of our communities and save the NHS money. Sensible investment by national government is needed to support local authorities to take the most polluting vehicles off our roads while ensuring that the poorest in our towns and cities are not the hardest hit by pollution and measures to tackle it.”
Commenting on UK100’s research, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “We welcome UK100’s calls for additional funding for businesses and individuals affected by Clean Air Zones and would like to see a portion of this allocated to a ‘Clean Freight Fund’ specifically to assist with HGV and van upgrades to support commercial vehicle operators. With 99% of the country’s 4.4 million commercial vehicles powered by diesel, operators are facing huge costs to upgrade their fleets and need all the help they can get to fund the transition to greener vehicles.”
“We are urging local authorities to focus on exploring a combination of air quality mitigation measures including alternative modes of transport and vehicle upgrade incentives, rather than just defaulting straight to the introduction of Clean Air Zones that will hit small businesses hard in the pocket.”