Campaigners call for Beeston, Middleton, Hunslet and Holbeck to be included in Leeds Clean Air Zone

Emissions in Leeds: Will the Clean Air Zone work?
Emissions in Leeds: Will the Clean Air Zone work?
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Campaigners are calling on council bosses to redraw the boundaries of the city’s proposed Clean Air Zone to include parts of south Leeds.

The Clean Air South Leeds group on Wednesday gave a speech to councillors at Leeds City Council’s Full Council meeting.

They questioned the exclusion of LS10 and LS11 - including Middleton, Belle Isle, Hunslet, Beeston and Holbeck - from the Clean Air Zone and called for them to be included.

It comes as council chiefs prepare to redraw the £40m masterplan, as it was revealed this week that its Government funding towards the zone could be slashed by up to one third.

Ed Carlisle, from the Clean Air South Leeds campaign group, said: “It seems totally upside-down that our communities - of all places - are set to be excluded from the zone.

“So it was good to make a stand at the council - and we’re glad that some of the local councillors, who previously argued for the exclusion, seem to have had a change of heart.

“We also wonder if the recent news Government might actually help us: it states a concern that the zone, as previously proposed, is not being targeted to the least well off - which is exactly our concern.”

The plan, lodged by the council to the Government last month, included a camera network and clean air charging zone.

It follows a ruling from the European Union that air quality in Leeds needs to improve.

But a letter sent last week by Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said the council needed to provide more evidence as to the viability of the scheme, suggesting it could be cheaper.

‘Reduction in scope’ of zone

James Lewis, deputy council leader, warned that the bid knock-back meant there was now a “reduction in scope” of the zone plans.

“As was made clear at full council, we are committed to introducing a Clean Air Zone for the city,” he said.

“Like other cities, Leeds City Council has a legal obligation directed by the government to reduce air pollution levels to within legal limits in the shortest possible timescale. However, the disappointing news from central government recently in response to our bid for funding means we face the risk of further uncertainty and reduction in scope of what we can achieve by January 2020.”