LEEDS City Council has been accused of being one of the main contributors to air pollution in the city as more than 90 per cent of the council’s fleet of vehicles are diesel.
The Leeds Liberal Democrat group say in January 1,033 out of 1,126 vehicles in the council’s fleet were diesel. The council owns 44 electric vehicles, seven gas and one hybrid.
Leeds City Council backed National Clean Air Day on Thursday and said it is tackling air pollution “head on.”
Coun Jonathan Bentley, Leeds Lib Dem council group environment spokesman, said: “We’ve seen the council claim they’re finally going to tackle the city’s air quality crisis, but these figures show it’s just talk.
“It’s outrageous that 1,000 of the council’s own diesel vehicles are polluting the city’s air whilst senior councillors are congratulating themselves on the terrific progress they’re telling us they’ve made.
“If the council is serious about improving air quality in Leeds it needs to clean up its act and get its own dirty diesels off the streets as a priority.”
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, deputy leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Improving air quality presents a huge challenge for the city, but as a council we are fully committed to tackling this issue head on. Far from shying away from this tough issue, the council is working with partners to tackle and combat air pollution.
“The council is working to reduce its emissions and, according to independent experts at Cenex, Leeds is the local authority with the largest number of full electric vehicles. The Council is playing its part in building a low emission city in a number of ways including developing a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) infrastructure which will enable our own fleet to switch to CNG as well as helping commercial fleet operators to do the same. We are increasing the number of electric vehicles in the council’s fleet and offering free parking in council car parks for people who drive Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.
“There is more than just one solution and that is why we need a city wide strategy and approach. It is a shame that on National Clean Air Day, a day that is about engaging with the public and businesses in a positive and constructive way to raise awareness, that the Liberal Democrats have chosen to play political football with such an important issue.”