CLEAN AIR – UPDATE ON ACTIONS BEING TAKEN

I have been sent the information below by way of an update on the Council’s activity to tackle air pollution:

“I am writing to update you on Leeds City Council’s plans to tackle air pollution and protect the health of everyone in Leeds.  

Regardless of where we live, working in Leeds means that we are all affected by the city’s air pollution on a daily basis. Air pollution damages our lungs, reduces life expectancy and worsens the symptoms of asthma. In fact, it is the biggest environmental risk to our health. 

You will no doubt be aware that, like many thriving cities, air pollution exceeds legal limits in some parts of Leeds. Because the UK Supreme Court has ordered the Government to make sure that air pollution laws are upheld, Leeds City Council has been directed by the Government to reduce air pollution to within legal limits in the shortest possible time. Therefore we must act now. 

As a council, we are committed to tackling air pollution in order to protect the city’s residents, workers and visitors from the serious health effects associated with breathing polluted air.

This commitment includes:

·         Delivering the biggest charging Clean Air Zone outside of London from 6th January 2020.

·         An ambition to fully transition the council’s fleet to electric or ultra-low emission vehicles by 2025.

·         Working with WYCA to install at least 88 new charge points for electric vehicles in West Yorkshire, including more than 30 in Leeds.

·         Taking action to reduce the number of idling vehicles at schools and taxi ranks across the city.

·         Encouraging residents to switch to hybrid or electric vehicles by offering free city centre parking at council operated sites.

·         Working with WYCA to improve public transport as part of the Connecting Leeds and long-term Leeds City Region Connectivity transport strategies to make it easier to leave the car at home.

·         Collaborating with innovators from across the UK to research and develop cutting edge clean air technology that can be used in Leeds and beyond.

 

In the last few weeks, Leeds City Council has been given final ministerial approval and more than £29 million in funding from the government to implement a Clean Air Charging Zone in the city and support businesses affected. 

The Clean Air Charging Zone will tackle pollution by encouraging owners of the worst polluting buses, coaches, HGVs, taxis and private hire vehicles to switch to cleaner models that are not subject to charges. Owners of cars, vans or motorcycles will not be charged.  

We have secured £23 million in government funding to support those facing charges upgrade to cleaner vehicles. We will do everything that we can to support businesses through this important change.  

Let me be clear: the council will not make money from charges. Charge revenue will only be used to cover the costs of operating the zone, to support owners of vehicles affected and for other schemes to improve air quality. In fact, the less money raised through charges the better because that means fewer polluting vehicles driving on our roads. 

We hope that applications for financial support will be available from late March 2019. Having received ministerial approval less than two weeks ago, council officers are working hard to finalise and release more information about support packages (including eligibility criteria and how to apply) as soon as possible. However, we are still waiting to receive some final details from the Government.   

Businesses interested in finding out more about the CAZ and the financial support available should email cleanairleeds@leeds.gov.uk to register their interest and receive email updates.  

By working together as a city to tackle pollution, we can best protect the health of everyone in Leeds. 

Please could you share this information with any businesses or individuals in your ward that contact you about the Clean Air Charging Zone.