Clean air zones in Leeds and Birmingham have been “significantly postponed” following a government delay.
The announcement came in a joint statement by Leeds City Council and Birmingham City Council after the government failed to deliver essential monitoring equipment in time.
Both clean air zones were due to be launched at the start of 2020, with high emission HGVs and buses in Leeds being charged up to £50 a day to drive in the zone. However, the councils will not receive the digital monitoring systems from the government until December, meaning officials will not have the appropriate length of time to install and test the equipment before going live with the scheme.
There has been no indication from Leeds City Council on when the scheme will be implemented, although Birmingham City Council is reportedly looking at pushing back the scheme until July 2020.
Councils urged to tackle air pollution
Leeds City Council and Birmingham City Council were both instructed to tackle damaging air pollution as a high priority after an in-depth study found they were both areas “most likely” to fail legal air quality levels by 2020. The councils decided to act by introducing a clean air zone and charging motorists of the most polluting vehicles to drive around the centre of their cities.
In order to be exempt from the charges, vehicles have to meet the latest Euro 6 standards, which significantly reduce emissions from diesel engines.
In a joint statement, the councils said they “had been on track to implement Clean Air Zones on the basis that a vehicle checker tool, which is being delivered by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), would be ready by October 2019 as planned.
“However, JAQU has now confirmed that the vehicle checker will not be available until at least December 2019 – leaving just weeks before the zones were due to come into force in January 2020.”
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