PMQs: PM says Clean Air Zone is ‘unworkable’

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Bradford’s Clean Air Zone will launch today and cover much of the city centre as well as the outer ring road and villages of Shipley and Saltaire. The Clean Air Zone is designed to improve air quality in areas where it’s worst and where poor air quality impacts people’s health the most.

Drivers of HGVs and buses breaching pollution limits will pay £50, while vans and minibuses will be charged £9 and taxis £7 from September 26.

Taxis face a fee of £7 to enter the city centre, while drivers of private cars will not face a charge.

Any zero emission vehicles will not face any charges and do not need to apply for exemptions.

Generally, charges will apply to petrol vehicles manufactured after 2006 (Euro 4, 5 and 6) and diesel Euro 6 vehicles which are generally after 2015.

Jason Longhurst, Strategic Director, Department of Place at Bradford Council, told that 87 percent of Bradford taxis are compliant.

This follows grants provided to Bradford businesses which also led to 370 buses and 20 percent of HGVs in the district being upgraded to meet the CAZ emission requirements.

More than 30 new electric buses are also expected to start running on busy routes next year.

On top of this £8.4million in grants have been allocated to assist businesses to upgrade their fleets.

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Over 3,400 grants have been applied for in the funding categories including HGVs, buses, coaches, LGVs, minibuses and taxis.

The council has already spent £30million on preparing for the scheme, with almost 3,500 businesses applying for grants.

He added: “Cars are unaffected by the Bradford Clean Air Zone and most Bradford businesses will also be unaffected. 

“An extensive exemptions programme has recently been launched, where Bradford businesses can register with so that they will not have to pay.

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“Certain businesses based outside the District can also apply for an exemption. 

“Getting an exemption means that they will not have to pay to drive in the Bradford Clean Air Zone.”

A survey carried out by the charity Born in Bradford found only 15 percent thought the air quality in Bradford was good. 

There was widespread support for the CAZ with 71 percent in favour and 66 percent reporting that they thought the CAZ would improve the health of their community.

It is expected that two more Clean Air Zones will launch this year.

Bristol is set to introduce new driving laws on November 28, with 71 percent of vehicles travelling into Bristol already meeting the zone’s emission standards.

Tyneside and Gateshead may also introduce a new Clean Air Zone this year, although it is expected that charging will begin early next year.

Greater Manchester and Sheffield are also expected to unveil a CAZ strategy in the coming months.

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