Leicester proposes Clean Air Zone, but vans and cars exempt

Leicester City Council says they want to implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) around the city’s inner ring road that charges taxis, buses and coaches but not owners of vans or cars.

In October 2018, the authority was one of 58 directed by government to carry out feasibility studies for measures that cut nitrogen dioxide (NO2) ‘in the shortest possible time’, which included a requirement to consider a CAZ.

The council has spent the last year undertaking modelling and traffic surveys, and says the small CAZ will help Leicester reach compliance for NO2 by the end of 2022 if it’s introduced in summer 2021.

Two areas of the city – Vaughan Way, on the inner ring road, and Soar Valley Way – exceed annual limits for NO2, at 45µg/m3 and 49µg/m3 respectively.

They say that charges will be similar to what’s proposed in Birmingham and Leeds, with taxis charged £8 per day and buses £50 per day unless they meet Euro 6 standards.

Alongside this, the council will bid for about £6m of support to help owners replace their polluting hackney cabs or private hire cars with cleaner, greener ultra-low emission alternatives.

This would include grants potentially up to £10,000 for electric hackney cabs and £5,000 for zero-emission private hire vehicles. Smaller grants of up to £1,000 would be available for private hire drivers wanting to change to a hybrid vehicle.

A full public consultation on the proposals is due to take place from January 2020.

Cllr Adam Clarke, deputy city mayor for Environment and Transportation, said: ‘We’ve been directed by government to model a variety of different options for a clean air zone. Our surveys and studies show that a charging zone for just taxis, buses and coaches will get us over the line in terms of bringing the city within set limits for air pollution.

‘That will give us a really solid foundation to build on and further improve air quality in the city.

Leicester City Council’s draft proposal for a clean air zone has now been submitted to government. The council will than have around six months to carry out consultations, final detailed modelling and costings before a final business case is submitted in April 2020.

Photo Credit – Big Stock