Some drivers could be charged £50 a day to enter Bradford under bid to improve air quality

Drivers could be charged to enter Bradford under the clean air zone plans. Credit: Tony Johnson
Drivers could be charged to enter Bradford under the clean air zone plans. Credit: Tony Johnson
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Polluting commercial vehicles could be charged up to £50 a day to pass through Bradford as part of a drastic bid to improve the city’s air quality.

HGVs, buses, coaches and taxis will all need to either adapt to greener fuel sources or face the charges when a new Clean Air Zone is introduced in October 2021.

Private vehicles will not be included in the plans.

The plans are heavily dependent on a successful bid to the Government for £60 million, which will be used to provide grants to the owners of polluting vehicles to upgrade to greener fuel sources.

The move comes after Bradford Council was given a “Ministerial Direction” in 2018 to drastically reduce the district’s air pollution as soon as possible.

Leeds City Council is implementing similar measures this June. York has also introduced a clean air zone just for buses, but plans to ban private car journeys by 2023.
Details of the proposals will be discussed by Bradford Council’s decision making Executive at a meeting on Tuesday, and a public consultation will follow shortly after.

The consultation will be branded “breathe better Bradford.”

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Members will be told that for the first five years of the clean air zone, local research group Born In Bradford will monitor how the changes impact the health of the district.

It will be the first such study of its kind, and could go on to influence future clean air policies across the country.

Areas included in the proposed clean air zone include the area within the Outer Ring Road, Manningham Lane/Canal Road and Shipley/Saltaire.

Under the plans, HGVs, buses and coaches will need to be Euro 6 compliant. Any vehicles that do not reach this level will be charged £50 a day to enter the clean air zone.

There would be some exemptions for small and medium businesses – according to the report.

Minibuses and light goods vehicles will either have to be Euro 6 (Diesel) or Euro 4 (Petrol) compliant, or they face a daily charge of £9.

Hackney carriages need to be Euro 6 (Diesel) compliant or face a £12.50 daily charge, while private hire vehicles need to be Euro 5 / 6 Petrol Hybrid Standard or face a £12.50 charge.

Certain vehicle types are exempt from charges, including military vehicles, blue light services Fire/police/ambulance), vintage vehicles and certain educational and charitable services.

The £60m government grant would be handed out to vehicle owners to help them upgrade. Grants of up to £15,000 will be handed out the help upgrade HGVs, up to £18,750 to improve buses, and between £3,500 and £5,000 to improve taxis.

As part of the plans the Council will encourage all taxis to upgrade to plug in vehicles, plan for a number of electric bus routes and create a new 1,000 vehicle park and ride near the M606.

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The scheme also involves the creation of an “alternative energy centre” at Bowling Back Lane, where clean energy vehicles will be able to re-fuel.

A report to the Executive says that in Bradford up to 687 of annual childhood asthma cases may be attributable to air pollution, that 55 per cent of the population are exposed to levels of air pollution above World Health Organisation exposure guidelines. Data from Public Health England shows that 4.3 per cent of deaths in the district are attributable to particulate matter from polluting vehicles.

Chris Ashley, head of policy and environmental regulation at the Road Haulage Association, said the group recognised the need for a reduction in vehicle pollution, but added: “We do have an issue with the design of the Clean Air Zone policy nationally. We think it is inflexible and unfair that cars are given an exemption.

“Pollution is not just caused by lorries. We do have an issue with the framework Central Government has designed and local authorities have to implement.

“We’d like policy makers nationally and locally to recognise the great strides already donw to bring down harmful pollution.”

He said the industry had invested £2.3 billion since 2013 to bring down emissions.

Mr Ashley said many HGVs would not be capable of being retrofitted.

The consultation runs from February 18 until March 26.