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Leeds launch 23m Clean Air Zone funding for businesses

Businesses in Leeds affected by the upcoming Clean Air Zone (CAZ) can now apply for £23m worth of funding, Leeds City Council has confirmed. 

Leeds’ CAZ will cover over half of Leeds city centre, with HGVs, buses and coaches set to be charged £50 per day for travelling in the zone if they fail to meet the minimum emissions standards.

Taxis and private hire vehicles will be charged £12.50 per day, or a reduced rate of £50 per week if the vehicles are licensed in Leeds.

The scheme, which will not affect private cars, vans or motorcycles, will come into effect from Monday, January 6 2020.

Applications are open now for owners of non-scheduled buses and coaches based in or operating within Leeds to apply for grants of up to £16,000 to upgrade or retrofit their non-compliant vehicles.

Operators of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will be able to apply for similar £16,000 grants from March 18.

Cllr James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for sustainability and resources 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.

‘Like most resident in Leeds, we believe that tackling air pollution to protect the health of everyone in the city is a priority.

‘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.

Meanwhile, owners and leaseholders of taxi and private hire vehicles that have been licensed with Leeds City Council for one year or longer will be able to choose between applying for either a £10,000 interest-free loan per vehicle (which can be used towards switching to a compliant model or retrofitting to LPG) or a £1,500 grant per vehicle to cover transitional costs.

‘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,’ added Cllr Lewis.

In January, Air Quality News met Cllr Lewis in Leeds to discuss the upcoming CAZ. He called on the government to fully fund a nationwide scrappage scheme for high polluting vehicles and defended accusations that the Leeds CAZ will not go far enough to reduce emissions.

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