A LEADING academic who advises Leeds City Council on vehicle emissions and air quality believes it will be at least another five years before diesel car owners face the prospect of paying to drive in Leeds city centre.
Associate Professor Dr James Tate, of the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, said the Government should increase road tax for diesel cars before introducing clean air zones in city centres in a bid to reduce the numbers of diesels.
Dr Tate said he believes “intelligent incentives” should be used to encourage operators of large fleets of buses and taxis to use greener energy.
Dr Tate said: “I would say there is probably another five years before owners of diesel cars get charged to use them in Leeds city centre. But buses, trucks and vans will come before that, probably in 2020.”
His comments come after council chiefs in Leeds urged residents to join a city-wide effort to cut killer air pollution on the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day this Thursday.
Leeds is one of five cities ordered by the Government to introduce a Clean Air Zone by 2020. Leeds City Council said around 40,000 deaths in the UK each year are attributable to air pollution, equating to around 350 deaths per year in Leeds. Council chiefs say the local authority is committed to improving air quality in the city.
First West Yorkshire has pledged to invest £71m to provide 284 new state-of-the art buses for its Leeds fleet by the end of 2020 as part of its bid to improve air quality.