Sheffield City Council has revealed plans for a clean air zone (CAZ), which will see non Euro-6 HGVs paying a £50 daily charge to access its inner ring road while cars go free. 

The council said its feasibility study suggested that a CAZ was necessary to bring the city’s air quality in line with legal levels by January 2021.

Sheffield City Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for development and transport, said: “Air pollution is a major health problem and we know that people across the country including our children are breathing air that is not safe.

“The government is not taking this issue seriously at all. They have completely failed to give local councils the tools and resources we need, whilst forcing us to take the difficult decisions that are now needed because of their inaction.

“We have no desire to charge people but this issue is so serious that we have to take these actions to protect local people and save lives in Sheffield.”

Scott added that the council’s intention was to remove the "most polluting vehicles" from the road rather than simply seeing them pay the daily charge.

In line with other CAZ cities, such as Leeds and Birmingham, the council is therefore seeking funding from the government to support its activities. It will be asking for £40m.

“We will be looking for significant government investment not only to help us to implement this new system, but also to give us enough funding to support the people affected to make the changes they need. Without this investment the ambitious plans we are bringing forward cannot be delivered,” said Scott.

The council is set to explore a range of local exemptions and fleet support measures, including possibly low-interest loans.

As well as HGVs, buses, coaches, taxis and vans all face a single, daily charge to enter the proposed ‘category C’ zone. Vans would be required to pay £10 a day to do so. Vehicles will need to be either Euro-6 diesel or Euro-4 petrol to avoid paying a charge.

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The RHA said it was “astounded” by the plans.

Chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Operators of Euro-6 rated HGVs are running the cleanest trucks currently available. However, the council’s proposal not to include private cars in the plan is badly considered – bearing in mind that the NOx emissions of some cars are equal to those produced by HGVs.

“By all means introduce a clean air zone that is in the interests of the environment but make sure that it is a scheme that treats all road users fairly.”

Sheffield, along with neighbouring South Yorkshire city Rotherham, is in the second wave of 23 local authorities mandated by the government to address air quality hotspots.

The first wave of cities comprises Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton.

Sheffield's CAZ proposals will be voted on at a council meeting on 27 November A public consultation will follow in the new year..