Smart Transport

Leeds halts clean air zone plans

Clean air zone sign

Leeds City Council has stopped financial support for its planned clean air zone (CAZ) while it conducts an ‘urgent’ review  with central Government into the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the city’s air pollution levels.

The pandemic and the resulting drop in traffic has seen pollution levels fall ‘significantly’ in Leeds, according to the council, and it is now questionable whether pollution will ever reach illegal levels.

Councillor James Lewis, deputy leader for Leeds City Council, said: “If the city’s air pollution is expected to stay below legal limits then we will no longer have the support of the government to introduce a charging clean air zone.

“Given this uncertainty, our financial support will continue to be paused until the review is complete and we have received further direction.

“I recognise that at an already uncertain time, this latest update will be frustrating for many businesses. However, I would like to ask drivers and operators for their continued patience whilst we carry out this urgent review.

“I hope to be able to clarify the future of the Leeds CAZ in the Autumn.

“Tackling the climate emergency and protecting the health of everyone in Leeds remain priorities for this council.

“Regardless of any future decision on the charging zone we will continue to deliver schemes that enable sustainable travel and the shift to zero emission vehicles."

He added that local air quality had already been improving, prior to the pandemic, with many of the city’s buses, taxis, private hire and businesses now driving cleaner vehicles.

The council has also accelerated highways schemes that will reduce traffic and create more space for cyclists and pedestrians.

It is investing in public transport infrastructure as part of its £270 million Connecting Leeds transport programme and has introduced policies and schemes to support the uptake of electric and low emission vehicles.

The review follows a request in April to delay the launch of the CAZ from its planned launch of September 28.

 Transport Minister Rachel Maclean

Virtual Smart Transport Conference 2020 presentations available to view now

After three packed days of content the first Virtual Smart Transport Conference has come to a close, but delegates can now gain free access to rewatch all the presentations during the show.

How to watch the presentations

Videos can be accessed by heading to the Agenda & Live Stream section of the Virtual Smart Transport Conference event website and choosing sessions to watch from across the three days.

The event featured thought leadership presentations from over 45 key stakeholders from the public and private sector, with opening statements from transport minister Rachel Maclean (pictured) and Mayor for Greater Manchester Combined Authority Andy Burnham.

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