Councillors at Newcastle City Council (NCC) have backed final proposals for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the centre of the city.
The logistics sector is “extremely disappointed” by the latest proposals, which include plans to close one lane of the Tyne Bridge in each direction.
Mags Simpson, head of Northern England Policy at FTA, said: “In the opinion of our members, NCC needs to reconsider its proposal to close one lane of the Tyne Bridge in each direction; this approach will significantly increase road congestion and air pollution in the local vicinity, and have an impact on journey times and costs.
Following months of productive meetings with NCC – where plans were amended to represent a smaller area of the city and provide more support for van operators in particular – FTA and its members are bewildered by this sudden change of plan.”
The Council received a record number of responses to its previous consultations: more than 20,000.
The CAZ would charge drivers to enter the city from 2021, although private cars are exempt for now.
Buses, coaches, and lorries that do not meet environmental standards would face £50 tolls under the plan, while some taxis and vans would be hit with £12.50 fees.
On January 14, 2020, FTA met with members from across the North of England; top of the agenda was the recent changes announced by NCC.
Simpson said: “The Newcastle CAZ involves daily charges for vehicles entering the city centre; but not private cars. Cities need goods to operate effectively and these charges are a significant financial burden to any operator trying to work in and around Newcastle; it is unfair to expect businesses to bear the cost of cleaning Newcastle’s air alone.”