Leeds council awards £3.7m to businesses ahead of CAZ

Leeds City Council has awarded more than £3.7m to local businesses switch to compliant vehicles ahead of its Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which is due to come into effect in July.

Since plans to introduce the CAZ were confirmed last year, new licensing data reveals that the money has helped taxi and private hire operators in the city replace around 1,000 diesel and petrol vehicles with lower emission hybrid, electric or LPG powered vehicles.

Additionally, the council has awarded funding to dozens of operators of HGVs, buses and coaches upgrade or retrofit around 170 larger vehicles.

A new online vehicle checker has been launched today by central government for individuals to check whether they will be affected by the Leeds CAZ or similar zones across the country.

Leeds and Birmingham were due to get England’s first Clean Air Zones in January 2020 which was postponed due to the government not delivering digital vehicle checking tools in time that are needed to make the zones operational.

The council says it will update its ‘go live’ date for the CAZ next month, and hasn’t ruled out delaying it past the current launch date of July 2020.

Cllr James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for air quality said: ‘Like most residents in Leeds we believe that tackling air pollution to protect the health of everyone in Leeds is a priority.

‘We’re already seeing hundreds of cleaner vehicles on our streets and as the Clean Air Charging Zone draws nearer we will no doubt see even more of the worst polluting vehicles disappear from our roads.

‘Helping owners of affected vehicles switch to less polluting models that won’t be charged is the best way to support local businesses. It is also the best way to improve air quality in Leeds before the charging zone’s introduction.

‘I strongly encourage every affected vehicle owner to visit our website today and find out more about what they need to do to prepare for the zone and explore the financial support and exemptions available.’

Polly Cook, chief officer for sustainable energy & air quality at Leeds City Council will be speaking about the challenges and opportunities of Leeds’ CAZ at the Air Quality News northern conference, which will be held on April 28 at the Midland Hotel, Manchester. Tickets are available here.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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