Fleet News

Clean Air Zone consultations heat up as discrepancies revealed between local council policies

Stephen Briers

Clean Air Zone (CAZ) consultations are heating up with the release of a revised proposal from Leeds City Council, which acts on some of the recommendations made by fleets attending our roundtable discussion at the council offices in January.

Meanwhile, Birmingham has published its first public report outlining a ‘full-fat’ Class D charging zone, which targets all vehicle types.

This was widely expected, although councillors downplayed it during our fleet roundtable in March.

Both announcements illustrate why Government delegated responsibility to the regions – they are facing different challenges, which require different solutions. However, the lack of common standards causes problems for fleets.

It’s not simply the fact that Leeds is targeting trucks, taxis and buses, while Birmingham has widened the net to catch vans and cars; it’s more down to the different costs – Leeds has suggested £50 a day for HGVs, Birmingham £50-£100 (in contrast, Derby is not looking to charge) – and a lack of clarity over signage and payment systems.

Every local authority announcement on CAZ is swiftly followed by a ClientEarth press release either praising or lambasting the council for its (in)actions. Each includes the slightly sinister phrase: “we will now be scrutinising the proposals closely”.

Its agenda is to rid the roads of diesel; it isn’t interested in any improvements in emissions being made.

Yet, testing from Emissions Analytics suggests a growing number of Euro 6 diesels now fall below the Government’s air quality target of
40mg of NOx per km.

We understand that fleets who were looking to exclude diesel from policy are now thinking again in light of these results.

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