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Businesses receive £3.7m funding for cleaner vehicles

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Businesses have been awarded more than £3.7 million by Leeds City Council to help them upgrade their vehicles before it introduces its clean air zone (CAZ).

It is bringing in a ‘Class B’ clean air zone later this year, which will mean some older, polluting buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and HGVs will be charged to drive within the zone.

Since plans to introduce the CAZ were confirmed by the council last year, Leeds has already seen a significant shift towards lower emission vehicles, it says.

New licensing data reveals that taxi and private hire operators in the city have replaced around 1,000 diesel and petrol vehicles with lower emission hybrid, electric or LPG powered vehicles since last January.

Additionally, the council has helped dozens of operators of HGVs, buses and coaches upgrade or retrofit around 170 larger vehicles.

Councillor James Lewis, executive member with responsibility for air quality, said: "Like most residents in Leeds we believe that tackling air pollution to protect the health of everyone in Leeds is a priority.

"We're already seeing hundreds of cleaner vehicles on our streets and as the clean air charging zone draws nearer we will no doubt see even more of the worst polluting vehicles disappear from our roads.

"Helping owners of affected vehicles switch to less polluting models that won't be charged is the best way to support local businesses. It is also the best way to improve air quality in Leeds before the charging zone's introduction.

"I strongly encourage every affected vehicle owner to visit our website today and find out more about what they need to do to prepare for the zone and explore the financial support and exemptions available."

A new online vehicle checker - developed and launched today by Government - will make it easier for individuals to check whether they will be affected by the Leeds Clean Air Charging Zone or similar zones across the country.

Owners of affected vehicles are encouraged to check whether they might be eligible for a number of charge exemptions or financial support available by visiting: www.leeds.gov.uk/cleanairzone.

The council intends to announce an updated 'go live' date for the clean air charging zone in March, however it has also confirmed that the zone will not launch sooner than July 2020 due to previously announced delays to essential government systems required for the zone's operation.

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