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Government backs Leeds clean air zone charging plans

The BVRLA is warning of the impact of the Leeds clean air zone on commercial fleets as the scheme gets government approval.

Charging Clean Air Zone mooted for Leeds

Leeds has had its plans for a charging clean air zone approved

The final plans were published three months ago and show how the city is pushing ahead with deploying a clean air charging zone from 2020, which will target HGVs, buses, coaches, taxis and private hire – but not cars or vans.

The council has now became the first authority to have its charging CAZ plans approved by government. It will charge non-Euro VI trucks £50 per day to enter parts of the city from 6 January 2020.

To help businesses affected, government has pledged more than £29m in funding for the council to implement the zone and support businesses. The council has stated that £13.8m would be made available as grants of up to £16,000 per affected HGV, subject to a ‘funding competition’. Applications are expected to open towards the end of March and grants can be used for either retrofitting or towards the purchasing of a new vehicle.

Announcing the council’s approved plans, Leeds City Council Councillor James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment, said: “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 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.”

In response, BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney has welcomed the support being provided to HGV operators as it warns that many companies are going to face massive costs in upgrading their fleets.

However, the association has continued its calls for cities to follow in the footsteps of Derby, Nottingham and Southampton. As with Leeds, the cities were among the five named in the December 2015 UK Air Quality Plan needing to deploy a CAZ by 2020 but have chosen not to introduced charging clean air zones.

“We would like to see more cities following in the footsteps of Nottingham, whose air quality measures are set to reach targets without the introduction of charging zones,” added Keaney.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.