This is when the Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone will go live

Leeds' Clean Air Charging Zone (CAZ) will go live in September this year, Leeds City Council has announced.

Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 4:07 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 9:04 am

The zone will tackle air pollution and protect the health of everyone in Leeds by encouraging businesses to switch to cleaner vehicles that won’t be charged.

From Monday, September 28, buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles, taxis and private hire vehicles which fail to meet minimum emissions standards will be charged for driving within the zone’s boundary.

High-emission HGVs and buses will be charged £50 a day to drive in the city.

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The Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone will go live in September 2020.

High-emission taxis and private hire vehicles will be charged £12.50 per day, and vehicles licensed with Leeds City Council will be eligible for a reduced £50 per week rate.

The zone has been created after the Government told Leeds, along with other UK cities, to tackle air pollution as soon as possible after finding that parts of the city would likely exceed legal air quality limits in 2020.

Leeds had planned to have the zone up and running by January 2020, but it was delayed due to a Government vehicle checker necessary for it to work was not ready in time.

There was another setback towards the end of 2019 amidst criticism of the scheme by Leeds taxi drivers, with the start date being pushed back to summer 2020.

A network of 300 purpose-built ANPR cameras have been installed at over a hundred junctions around the perimeter of the zone.

Since plans for the CAZ were announced, "significant improvements in air quality have already been observed across the city as vehicle operators prepare for the zone’s introduction by switching to cleaner vehicles," Leeds City Council said.

The authority is supporting affected vehicle owners and operators to move to lower emissions vehicles that won’t be charged.

More than £5.4 million in financial support has so far been awarded to help local businesses switch to cleaner vehicles and an additional £3.1 million has been provisionally approved.

Licensing data shows that taxi and private hire operators have introduced more than 1,200 low emission hybrid, electric and LPG powered vehicles since the zone was confirmed as diesel and petrol models have been replaced.

And the council has helped operators of HGVs, buses and coaches to upgrade or retrofit more than 266 vehicles.

The council is increasing its number of electric vehicles, already the largest of any local authority in the country, to 250.

You can check whether your vehicle complies with the online vehicle checker – launched last month by central government.

Owners of affected vehicles are encouraged to check whether they are eligible for a number of charge exemptions or financial support by visiting:

Cllr James Lewis, Executive Member with responsibility for air quality, said: “Having been forced to delay the introduction of the zone last year due to delays to government systems, I am delighted that we are now able to confirm a go-live date for the Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone giving affected businesses clarity to help them prepare for the zone’s introduction.

“We’re already seeing improvements to our city’s air quality thanks to the thousands of drivers that have already switched to less-polluting vehicles. As more businesses switch to cleaner vehicles to avoid charges we will no doubt continue to deliver even more improvements.

“With six months before the zone takes effect, it is now time for businesses to prepare. I would strongly encourage those who may be affected to check their vehicle and find out more about the financial support and exemptions available by visiting our website.”