According to a recent poll, 4 in 10 businesses are in the dark about the Clean Air Zone rollout.
With this in mind, we’re aiming to shed some light on everything businesses need to know about the Leeds Clean Air Zone and how you can prepare for the charges.
In this blog we’ll cover:
- What is a Clean Air Zone?
- What are the Leeds Clean Air Zone plans?
- How will businesses be affected?
- How can businesses prepare?
A Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is an area where targeted action is taken to improve air quality through discouraging high polluting vehicles from entering the ‘zone’.
Clean Air Zones do not ban or prevent any vehicle from entering the ‘zone’. However, those vehicles that do not meet minimum engine standards would need to pay a daily charge for entering the ‘zone’. No charge or levy will be applied to any vehicle that is compliant with the Clean Air Zones standards – essentially newer, cleaner vehicles will be unaffected by these plans (more on this later).
Back in 2015, The Department Food Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published their updated air quality action plan that named Leeds, along with Nottingham, Birmingham, Derby, Southampton, and London as places in the UK that will be not be compliant with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) targets by 2020. Fast forward to 2018, Leeds City Council unveiled its final plans for a Clean Air Zone on Tuesday, October 9.
Under the Leeds proposals, over 55% of the city will be covered by a CAZ, which will charge pre-Euro VI HGVs, bus and coaches, private hire vehicles and taxis.
Leeds City Council says the proposals will come into effect on January 6, 2020 with the ambition of 'improving the air quality of Leeds to support a thriving and sustainable city for those that live, work or visit here'.
The final charges for driving within the confines of the zone are as follows:
- Non-compliant HGVs, buses and coaches will be charged a daily fee of £50.
- Taxis and private hire vehicles will incur a £12.50 charge each day.
- Private vehicles will not be charged.
Businesses that operate non-compliant vehicles (pre-Euro VI) will be penalised if they enter the charge zone and should look at ways to either retrofit or replace their vehicles with latest Euro standards.
The good news is that there are plans in place to help local businesses with this transition. For example, firms operating HGVs and coaches could be given up to £19,000 to help with retrofitting equipment to reduce emissions. Leeds taxi and private hire drivers will also be given grants of between £1,500-£3,000 to change to hybrid and electric vehicles. Plus, the council is looking to get money from the government's £220m Clean Air Fund to help businesses upgrade their vehicles.
The standards required to avoid CAZ charges – or miss out on incentives – are looming for some operators with older, non-compliant vehicles. So businesses would be wise to look at ways they can address air quality in their fleet such as looking at whether to retrofit, purchase or hire new vehicles to avoid the charges.
Clean Air Zone plans and emission standards are just some of the issues affecting urban fleet operations. With this in mind, we know that making vehicle purchasing decisions for your business in the current climate is no easy feat. That’s why our customers choose to opt for Leeds van hire instead. To help you weigh up the best option, we’ve put together this handy guide on choosing the right vehicle acquisition option for your company. Download it for free below.