Conflicting opinions have risen after the Clean Air Zone initiative submitted their final proposal to the government to make Leeds a cleaner city.
By Oliver Wood and Henry Whitaker.
A Clean Air Zone is an area which has been highlighted for attention due to air pollution. The aim is to reduce the levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air.
A report by the World Health Organisation(WHO) found air pollution levels were above the 10 micrograms per cubic metre limit. The pollution is largely produced by vehicles and machinery which uses fossil fuels.
The council propose to implement a congestion charge on HGVs,and buses at £50 and taxis at £12.50 a day. With potential charges forthcoming for private vehicles as well. In addition to this the council have promised funding in the form of loans of £10,000 to taxi firms for cleaner cars.
Environmentalists have called for greater measures that would reduce pollution levels in the city. Rachel Hartshorne, founder and coordinator of Healthy Air Leeds, said “we need more expensive car parks and to get rid of all open-air car parks in Leeds”.
“It’s not that we are trying to punish drivers, we want a better incentive for people to leave their cars at home.”
There has been criticism of government planing and action in relation to environmental issues particularly from environmental groups.
When local Conservative Councillor Matthew Robinson was asked about a possible congestion charge on private vehicles, something proposed by environmentalists he said ” it’s utterly ridiculous, one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard.”
“To slam people with a massive charge overnight which they can’t avoid really hits people hard.”
“We want to work with the community to improve our environment rather than hit them hard in the pocket and make it harder for the lowest earners and families.”
More information about the Clean Air Charging Zone can be found here: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/docs/Clean%20Air%20Charging%20Zone%20FAQs.pdf