Pollution fees for Leeds drivers is ruled out by council bosses

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PLANS to introduce a congestion charge-style fee for diesel car drivers have been ruled out by city bosses.

London is looking to introduce the £11.50 daily fee in 2020 in a bid to tackle pollution, and 15 other UK cities are said to be discussing the proposals.

But yesterday Leeds City Council said it was not looking to adopt the idea.

However, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has warned that unless action is taken, Leeds would face dangerous levels of pollution from vehicle exhausts by 2030.

Dr Ian Cameron, director of Public Health at Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds City Council is continuing to work to improve air quality with other West Yorkshire local authorities so we can address the issue on a regional basis. We have also made central government aware of our views on aspects of air quality beyond the control of local government.”

Instead of the charges, Leeds City Council is instead looking to park and ride schemes, electric charging points for cars and cycle schemes to help tackle the issue.

Dr Cameron added: “Locally, the council is taking action in a number of areas to reduce pollution and we’ve recently announced the Aire Valley park and ride to complement the newly-introduced Elland Road scheme.

“We are trialling refuse vehicles that run on biomethane gas, along with electric vehicles.

“We are also testing environmentally-friendly hybrids and we have recently installed 10 electric charging points in our Woodhouse Lane car park.

“This all complements initiatives such as the Cycle Super-Highway linking Leeds and Bradford and other efforts to increase Leeds’ commitment to being a cycling-friendly city.

“Less reliance on cars and more cycling and walking help not only reduce pollution but also increase health benefits.”

Diesel exhaust fumes have been linked to a range of illnesses and long-term health conditions, from heart disease to diabetes.

Driving a diesel car was encouraged by previous governments, as they were thought to contribute less to global warming through better fuel efficiency. The number of diesel cars in the UK is nearly 11million – making up over a third of all cars on the road.

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