PMQs: PM says Clean Air Zone is ‘unworkable’
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Numerous Clean Air Zones have already launched including Bath, Birmingham and Portsmouth in 2021 and Bradford earlier this year. Bristol was the most recent city to launch its Clean Air Zone on November 28, with private petrol and diesel cars being charged £9 to drive in the zone. A handful of other cities will also launch their zones in 2023.
Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead)
The Clean Air Zone was launched in October 2022, with cameras in operation and signage around the area.
However, motorists haven’t had to pay yet, with charges only being introduced on January 30, 2023.
Charging will be introduced in two phases – with non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles, buses, coaches and HGVs being charged from January.
Vans and light goods vehicles will not face charges until July 2023 to allow extra time for vehicle replacements, which are currently affected by a national supply shortage.
Non-compliant lorries, buses and coaches will be hit with £50-a-day tolls, while the worst polluting vans and taxis will be charged £12.50 per day.
Councillor John McElroy, cabinet member for the environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “Throughout this process, we’ve been clear that improving air quality for the good of people’s health has been our main priority.
“We’ve also been keen to ensure that those directly affected get the maximum financial support possible to help them upgrade to a cleaner vehicle so that they can reduce their emissions and avoid having to pay CAZ charges.”
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Earlier this month, it was revealed that Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone would be launching on Monday, February 27, 2023.
It is a class C chargeable zone for the most polluting large goods vehicles, vans, buses, coaches and taxis that drive within the inner ring road and city centre.
Polluting vans, LGVs and taxis will be charged £10 per day, while coaches, buses, lorries and HGVs will see a £50 charge.
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Due to the cost of living crisis, all local light-good vehicles and taxi hackney carriages will be exempt until June 5, 2023.
Councillor Terry Fox, leader of Sheffield Council, said: “This affects all of us. It is particularly felt by children and the vulnerable and it reduces life expectancy and causes premature death.
“It is a serious issue that requires serious action. We have sought to enact highway measures where we can to improve air quality, but this is not enough and we are legally mandated by the Government to enact a CAZ.”
He added that after years of work, Sheffield had “one of the most generous packages available” to any local authority.
The Clean Air Zone was supposed to launch in May, but was postponed in February, with the Government saying it would allow for a consultation.
Transport for Greater Manchester submitted a revised proposal for the Clean Air Zone in July, but has claimed that the Government has not yet responded.
If it goes ahead, it is due to be the biggest Clean Air Zone in the UK and one of the largest emissions-based charging zones in the world.
Throughout the planning process, players on all sides have criticised it, including Boris Johnson who called it “thoughtless”.
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the scheme had become “unworkable” after the pandemic, saying that no charges should be levied on any vehicles.
According to recent reports, £62million has been spent on the scheme, despite it not yet going ahead.
This includes the network of ANPR cameras and signage, which included the original May date, which needs to be changed.
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