Heathrow Street, Leeds

Leeds City Council is asking businesses for their views on its proposed clean air zone (CAZ) plans.

This follows an announcement last December of proposals to introduce a category B charging zone in the city centre, which would affect HGVs, buses, coaches,taxis and private hire vehicles.

The consultation asks for views on whether a London-style charging regime, whereby HGVs would have to pay £100 if not achieving Euro-6 emissions standards, is appropriate for Leeds.

It also wants to know whether a ‘sunset period’ should be considered, which would allow certain vehicles more time to comply with the CAZ requirements, or if any vehicles should be entirely exempt.

The council said in an email to businesses: “As part of this consultation, we’re asking businesses to work with the council to determine what type of support measures would be required as the council has opportunity to seek funding from government to provide this.

“Your feedback will help us understand how best to balance improving air quality in the shortest possible timescale with minimising impact on local businesses.

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Following the public consultation, which runs until 2 March, a final CAZ report will be submitted to the government for approval for the scheme.

Leeds has already implemented a number of initiatives to boost air quality in the city, including trials of new technology and the development of a new transport strategy.

These include switching its own fleet to ultra-low or zero-emission vehicles: currently the council has more than other local authorities in England.

It is also developing compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure for the city to enable its own fleet of vehicles, including its RCVs, to switch to natural gas as well as enabling commercial fleet operators to benefit from using the site.

Leeds is also carrying out a geofencing trial as part of project ACCRA that will assess the operational ability of hybrid vehicles to automatically switch to zero emission mode when they are in an area of poor air quality.

In addition, it has secured £150,000 in partnership with clean cool technology firm Dearman to investigate the potential to reduce the impact of refrigerated transport on air quality in Leeds.