Leeds City Council has begun to install automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to monitor and enforce the upcoming charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) despite being forced to delay it by up to a year.
The CAZ was due to come into effect in January 2020 but last week the local authority joined Birmingham City Council in saying that due to the government delaying the delivery of a vehicle checker tool they were left with no choice but to delay it ‘significantly’.
However, they are pressing ahead with installing 300 purpose-built cameras equipped with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology at over a hundred junctions around the perimeter of the zone as planned.
ANPR cameras will identify and register every vehicle that enters the charging zone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and the information will then interface with the UK government’s new national clean air zone database for vehicle checking and payment.
The network will be designed, supplied, installed, operated and maintained by Siemens Mobility Limited who delivered similar equipment to monitor the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London.
Cllr James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources and sustainability, said: ‘Whilst it is disappointing that the council has been forced to postpone the Clean Air Charging Zone’s introduction because of delays to government systems, the council is doing everything it can to ensure that we are ready to implement the zone within the shortest possible timescale.
‘We are still waiting for the government to outline new timescales for their systems that they are confident can be delivered before we can finalise a new date for the charging zone’s introduction.
‘Despite the government’s delays, we are already taking a range of actions that will support the reduction of air pollution prior to the introduction of the CAZ. We are also continuing to financially support owners of affected vehicles switching to less polluting models that won’t be charged as doing so is the best way to improve air quality before the zone goes live.
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.