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Leeds is planning eco revolution

Traffic in Leeds city centre. PIC: Tony Johnson
Traffic in Leeds city centre. PIC: Tony Johnson
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Leeds City Council wants to start a green revolution with industrial vehicles in the city.

Town hall leaders want to team up with Highways England to set up a “centre of excellence” for ultra low emission vans in the city.

The authority says it wants to encourage more small businesses in the south of the city to start using electric vehicles. Plans involve motorway regulator Highways England, which has been looking to start a scheme to help businesses purchase electric vans and to create more electric vehicle charging points.

It considers Leeds as a good place to start, as motorways such as the M1 and M621 run close to residential communities. It is not known how much money would be available for the scheme, although the council says Highways England is putting together a business case to put to its investment committee next month. The scheme would be part of Leeds City Council’s clean air strategy – set up after the European Union warned levels of air pollution in the city were too high.

The strategy includes proposals for a clean air charging zone – which would see high-emission HGVs and buses being charged £50 a day, while taxis and private hire vehicles registered in the city would pay £50 a week.

The executive board is expected to approve the partnership with Highways England on Wednesday’s council executive board meeting.

The news comes as it is revealed the cost of charging electric vehicles could be reduced. Motorists should be encouraged to top up when electricity is cheaper to reduce the need for expensive new power stations and extra grid capacity, Ofgem said.