Sheffield City Council to backtrack on Clean Air Zone plans following significant improvements to air quality during the lockdown period.
The proposed Clean Air Zone was due to come into effect in 2021 and would have seen a daily charge of £50 for polluting buses and £10 for taxis, lorries and vans.
However, in an announcement made today (September 11), the council has said that following a 33% drop in air pollution during the lockdown period, they will now consider alternative methods.
The council has said that the current situation is ‘dramatically different’ to the one in the which proposals were originally developed.
Sheffield is now the third city to have Clean Air Zone plans cancelled, similar announcements were made by both Bristol and Leeds councils last month.
Bob Johnson cabinet member for transport and development Said: ‘We know that air pollution disproportionately harms the poorest, most deprived areas.
‘Action to improve the air we all breathe in Sheffield is essential and everyone has a role to play. During the Coronavirus pandemic, we have seen improvements in air quality and we want to sustain them.
‘However, we are reviewing our plans for the Clean Air Zone in light of Coronavirus. If we can hold onto clean air by introducing other measures without resorting to charging people, we believe this is the best way forward.
‘Many of the businesses who will need to upgrade their vehicles in order to be compliant with the CAZ are focusing quite rightly on controlling the spread of the virus, and working to keep people safe, local people in jobs and businesses afloat. If they cannot afford to upgrade to cleaner vehicles, they may end up paying to pollute and we will all still breathe dirty air.
‘With the right clean air plan and crucially, with the right funding from the Government, we can reduce pollution in a fair way, and in a way that is aligned with our zero-carbon goals.’
Lets hope the councils such as Manchester follow suit....