How Leeds council plans to spend £1.8m from government to clean up city's air

Leeds City Council has been awarded £1.8m in government funding to help it achieve important air quality targets.

The money from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will support a range of projects, including the extension of a free parking scheme for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

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It will also fund public awareness campaigns, a Scoot to School scheme, an electric taxi lease scheme and work to encourage a higher uptake of electric vans among businesses.

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Coun Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for environment and sustainability, said: “This announcement is great news as we are absolutely committed to improving the air quality for everyone in our city and this funding will help support all the efforts already being undertaken to achieve that.

“Projects it can be applied to include improving the use of electric vehicles in the taxi and private hire sector as well as with small and medium businesses. It will also allow us to increase the electric charging network in the city.

“Other initiatives include providing better air quality information through our electronic road signage as well as signposting people to make the most of existing environmentally-friendly projects.

“It will also support our schools scooter scheme, and provide us with the opportunity to work with a further 30 schools. This reflects the reality that we need the whole city to get behind the effort: everyone in Leeds has their part to play in making our air clean for all.”

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Separate to this, the council has finished the first stage of its public consultation on ideas to tackle air quality issues.

Proposals include charging certain high emission vehicles if they enter a Clean Air Zone.

The consultation began after the government identified Leeds as being likely to fail legal air quality levels by 2020 and asked for a plan to tackle the issue of air pollution.

How will funds be spent?

£409,817 for public awareness raising in the city such as variable signage for air quality data, permanent signage for anti-idling, promoting car sharing and other incentives and incentives to use public transport.

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£339,680 for charging points to increase the elective vehicle charging infrastructure as well as extending the ULEV free parking for two years.

£151,291 for Scoot to School: working with 30 schools to increase active transport, including provision of training and scooter storage as well as education on air quality through drama.

£660,000 for ULEV uptake for small and medium size businessses: working with businesses to encourage a higher uptake of electric vans across the city. This will include the opportunity to trial vehicles, additional support for charge point infrastructure and detailed monitoring of current fleet.

£299,200 for Electric Taxi Lease enabling the council to buy electric taxi and private hire vehicles and lease them to drivers for short term periods to allow them to see how the technology could work for them and to increase the use of electric in this sector.