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Leeds outlines next steps in air quality strategy

Leeds city council has outlined a series of initiatives being implemented across the city to tackle air pollution alongside the introduction of a Clean Air Zone, expected to be in effect from late 2019.

At a meeting yesterday (25 July) of the council’s executive board, councillors were told of a range of measures that the authority has or is looking to implement as part of its efforts to improve air quality.

Leeds city council’s CAZ proposals include charging for the use of HGVs, buses and coaches which are pre-Euro 6 diesel on the outer ring road

This includes the roll out of an anti-idling campaign across the city – with plans for a widespread public education campaign on the issue. Alongside this the council is consulting on the potential for enforcement action against drivers who fail to switch off their engines.

Training will also be carried out across the council’s parking enforcement teams to enable staff to spot vehicles idling – with engagement material to be developed to be distributed to drivers.

A report published ahead of the meeting also details the communications strategy due to be implemented ahead of the introduction of the Clean Air Zone.

Communication

This, the report says, will include a ‘specific focus on raising awareness of air quality issues, prompting behaviour change and provide information on opportunities to take action’.

“In addition to this the communications strategy will provide wider information on changes that can be made by the public, schools, businesses and other organisations to further reduce emissions beyond the Clean Air Charging Zone and to highlight the collective responsibility to improve air quality.

“This will include advice on active travel, travel planning and accessible support for businesses. This work will be ongoing to both support the aim of the Clean Air Charging Zone to directly reduce emissions and improve air quality, but will also form the basis of continually making the case for improvements and changes, by demonstrating the benefits of a cleaner, healthier city.”

The report adds that car users who drive less than five miles each week will be encouraged to switch from jumping in the car each time they travel, to using public transport or active transport such as cycling, running or walking.

Elsewhere, the council is also exploring a partnership with Highways England to develop a Regional Centre of Excellence to encourage the use of electric vans in the city.

Based in the south of Leeds, the scheme would provide investment for the purchase or lease of electric vans and business engagement and support to encourage increased uptake in the vehicles.

Leeds’ plans for a Clean Air Zone, which were published for a second consultation in June, include plans to charge buses, coaches and HGVS £50 a day to operate within the designated CAZ area and a charge of £12.50 a day for taxi and private hire vehicles (see airqualitynews.com story).

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