Leeds city council has outlined details of its final proposal for the establishment of a Clean Air Zone in the city, following feedback from residents and businesses.
Proposals were initially outlined in December, and the city council has submitted revised proposals following a public consultation process.
The council has been directed by the government to provide a full business case by 15 September 2018 which addresses the cityâ€™s proposals to ensure it becomes compliant with air quality standards in the shortest possible time.
At a meeting of the councilâ€™s executive board next week (27 June), members will be asked to approve entering into a period of statutory public consultation on both the clean air charging zone, the enforcement of anti-idling, the citywide clean air strategy and proposed changes to licensing conditions for taxis and private hire vehicles.
Changes to the proposals include a smaller boundary area, as well as revisions to the proposed charges to be levied on heavy goods vehicles after feedback from the initial consultation suggested a charge of Â£100 was too high.
Now the council is proposing a charge for buses, coaches and HGVS of Â£50 a day and a charge of Â£12.50 a day for taxi and private hire vehicles, with a reduced weekly rate available for Leeds licensed drivers who choose to purchase this in advance.
The council is also seeking government support to accredit HGV retrofits and help smaller companies finance the change, along with a national register of private hire and taxis to ensure all relevant vehicles entering the zone are charged proportionately.
On a national level, the council is pushing for a nationwide policy on intercity charging that would see vehicles only charged once per day regardless of the number of Clean Air Zones that were entered.
Councillor James Lewis, the city council’s executive board member for resources and sustainability said: â€œEnsuring we reduce pollution levels across the whole city is a real priority for the council and something we are working hard to achieve. As much as the clean air charging zone forms a key part of our preferred scheme â€“ ensuring all our communities are able to breath clean air is the end goal.
â€œWe will be entering into a statutory consultation at the end of June (subject to approval by the executive board) and will be asking for feedback on our preferred scheme for a Clean Air Charging Zone and the clean air strategy for the whole city â€“ including what our ambitions should or could look like after 2020.â€
He added: â€œAs part of ensuring we submit a business case that works for the whole city, we are currently engaging with those trades and organisations that will be directly affected by the implementation of a charging zone in Leeds.
â€œThese meetings are vital for us to better understand the support that businesses who operate in the city need to make the move to become â€˜compliantâ€™ under the clean air charging zone stipulations.â€
Leeds city council – Clean Air Zone proposal