Clean Air Zone will introduce daily charges in West Yorkshire city from September

Drivers of the worst-polluting lorries, vans and taxis will be charged to enter Bradford city centre from September.

The Government has ordered Bradford Council to introduce a Clean Air Zone, to ensure levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide are brought within the legal limit.

The zone, which was originally due to be launched in January, will now go live on September 26 and a network of cameras will be used to enforce the charges.

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Daily charges for lorries (£50), buses (£50), coaches (£50) and taxis (£7) that fail to meet required emission standards will be introduced, however, private cars and motorcycles will be exempt.

The Bradford Clean Air Zone will be launched on September 26The Bradford Clean Air Zone will be launched on September 26
The Bradford Clean Air Zone will be launched on September 26

The government has ordered a number of councils to introduce CAZs since the Supreme Court ordered Ministers to take immediate action to cut air pollution in 2015.

Bradford Council said it “put forward alternatives” but the Government insisted that introducing a CAZ “is the only way” to ensure the district complies with legal limits for air quality.

It also said the latest monitoring data for Bradford shows that levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed that limit at several locations across the district.

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The Bradford zone will cover the area inside, and including, the Bradford outer ring road. It will also extend out along the Aire valley corridor, (Manningham Lane/Bradford Road and Canal Road area) to include Shipley and Saltaire.The Bradford zone will cover the area inside, and including, the Bradford outer ring road. It will also extend out along the Aire valley corridor, (Manningham Lane/Bradford Road and Canal Road area) to include Shipley and Saltaire.
The Bradford zone will cover the area inside, and including, the Bradford outer ring road. It will also extend out along the Aire valley corridor, (Manningham Lane/Bradford Road and Canal Road area) to include Shipley and Saltaire.
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More than £30m has been provided to help Bradford businesses replace their non-compliant vehicles so they can avoid charges, and around 3,400 have applied for grants.

Andrew Whittles, the council’s Air Quality Director, said: “Road transport emissions are a significant source of poor air quality and health in Bradford and research shows that the largest health benefits of the Clean Air Zone will be felt by the most disadvantaged communities in the city.

“Every ward in Bradford will benefit from cleaner air. The number of non-compliant vans, lorries, taxis and buses will fall. As a result, air quality will improve across the district, both inside and outside the Clean Air Zone boundary.”

Zones have already been set up in Birmingham, Bath and Portsmouth, due to concerns about pollution, and there are more planned for Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester and Bristol.

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However, plans for a CAZ in neighbouring Leeds were scrapped in October 2020, after Leeds City Council warned the Government it had “no legal authority” to go ahead with the project.

After several delays, a council official wrote to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and said the amount of nitrogen dioxide pollution on key roads was within the Government’s legal limit, following a significant reduction.

In emails, obtained by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, he wrote: “If we were to continue to implement a CAZ having already achieved compliance and having evidence to show that compliance will be maintained, this exposes the council to legal challenge as the legal duty has now been met.”

The emails show the council disputed a review of emissions conducted by the Government and then conducted its own calculations.

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The introduction of a CAZ in Greater Manchester has also been paused until 2026, and Mayor Andy Burnham is now urging the Government to approve new proposals for a non-charging zone, which provides grants to encourage drivers to replace the worst-polluting vehicles.

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