Leeds City Council has announced that the statutory consultation on the city’s proposed clean air charging will launch later this month.
In a statement issued yesterday (18 June), the council said that it has been directed by the UK government to provide a “full business case” by 15 September which “addresses the city’s proposals to ensure it becomes compliant with air quality standards in the shortest possible time”.
At a meeting on Wednesday (27 June), the Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked to approve entering into a period of statutory public consultation on both the clean air charging zone, the enforcement of anti-idling, the citywide clean air strategy and proposed changes to licensing conditions for taxis and private hire vehicles.
The City Council said that it received almost 9,000 responses in the first-phase consultation and it amended its plans on a number of points.
- a new, smaller boundary for the charging zone area
- improved air quality areas across the city
- changes to daily charges. The City Council said: “A revised tariff for buses has been included in the latest proposals, after feedback from the initial consultation suggested a charge of £100 was too high. At this time the council is proposing a charge for buses, coaches and HGVS of £50 a day and a charge of £12.50 a day for taxi and private hire vehicles, with a reduced weekly rate available for Leeds licensed drivers who choose to purchase this in advance.”
- a review of licensing conditions for the taxi and private hire trade. According to the City Council: “A number of proposals and changes will be looked at including some ‘sunset periods’ for drivers that have recently bought new Euro 6 Vehicles and support and finance packages available to help assist the trade in the move to petrol hybrid and electric vehicles.”
- the public and businesses will be asked about what they believe the council should be doing post 2020 to address air pollution in the city.
The City Council said that it also has a number of “big asks” for the government. To quote from the City Council statement: “Providing the right support packages for the trades affected is a high priority, and will help ensure the success of the scheme without adversely affecting local businesses in the city. Therefore the council are asking for support to accredit HGV retrofits and help smaller companies finance the change, along with a national register of private hire and taxis to ensure all relevant vehicles entering the zone are charged proportionately, as well as support for Leeds taxi and private hire driver to upgrade to hybrid and electric vehicles.
“On a national level, the council are pushing for a nationwide policy on intercity charging that would see vehicles only charged once per day regardless of the number of Clean Air Zones that were entered.”
Information on the consultation will be available at www.leeds.gov.uk/airqualityconsultation from 28 June. The consultation will run for six weeks and close on 12 August.