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Monday, June 27, 2022

Keighley MP Robbie Moore calls for “unfair” Clean Air Zone to be scrapped

The MP is calling for the CAZ to be scrapped.

MP for Ilkley and Keighley, Robbie Moore has called for Bradford’s Clean Air Zone plans to be scrapped.

A Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is a defined area targeted to improve air quality.

Through the use of a daily charge for entering the zone, impacted vehicle owners will be encouraged to consider upgrading their vehicles to compliant standards.

Robbie Moore is calling for the CAZ to be scrapped. 

Bradford will be a Class C+ CAZ which means that families and individuals with a car will not have to pay a charge, even if they use their car for work, unlike London’s £15-a-day congestion charge for anyone driving in the city centre.

Instead, it is a daily charge for commercial vehicles, including buses, coaches, lorries, vans, and taxis, that do not comply with the new regulations.

Taxis will have to pay £7 a day, if they are not compliant, whereas HGVs will have to pay £50 a day to drive in the zone.

Most vehicles will have to comply with Euro 6 emissions for diesel, and Euro 4 emissions for petrol, or switch over to an electric car to avoid paying the daily surcharge.

Vans, minibuses, and Large Good Vehicles (LGVs) will have to pay a charge of £9 a day if not compliant.

All money collected from drivers of the most polluting vehicles, either from the CAZ charge or fines for non-payment of the charge will be invested in measures that improve air quality in the district.

The (CAZ) will cover Bradford city centre and the Bradford outer ring road.

It will also extend out along the Aire valley corridor, across Manningham Lane, Bradford Road and Canal Road area, including Shipley and Saltaire.

The (CAZ) will cover Bradford city centre and the Bradford outer ring road. Image: Googe Maps. 

The divisive plans have come up against criticism by local business owners, taxi drivers, councillors, and now MP for Keighley and Ilkley Robbie Moore.

In an open letter published on Mr Moore’s website, he has called the CAZ “unfair” and that it must be scrapped.

Mr Moore, said: “Local Labour Councillors and the Labour Leadership at Bradford Council blocked a move to scrap their ill-thought-through CAZ tax.

“In doing so, they have shut down what could be the last chance to stop this unfair tax hitting hard-working people right across our area.

“Whilst this was only last week, these plans have been around since 2018 after air pollution levels across Bradford were deemed to be illegal. After being issued a ministerial direction to clean up our air, Bradford Council’s Labour leadership decided the best way to tackle the challenge was to impose a Clean Air Zone tax on particular vehicles.

“This plan amounts to nothing but a targeted tax on a select group of hard-working people, who are set to incur huge charges whilst simply going about their business. What’s more, these plans in my view will do very little to actually improve the environment.”

He added: “It will undoubtedly have a huge detrimental impact on these people. For so many individuals, the pandemic has caused unprecedented financial losses as business has disappeared.

“Just as we get back to normal, and businesses are finally able to stand on their own two feet, Bradford Council is hitting them with their unfair tax. This will create extreme financial hardship, particularly for small businesses.

The plans will put “hard-working” people under more financial strain. 

“There is a serious worry that as businesses try to cope with these additional overheads, the financial strain will become all too much and jobs may be lost. What’s more, those who rely on these services will face a rise in costs to cover for this tax.

“Improving air quality does not have to translate to an unfair tax on hard-working people. When the Council say the plan will reduce emissions, they are ignoring the inevitable fact that congestion will only increase outside of this CAZ as businesses send drivers on longer routes to avoid charges.

“Across the Pennines in Manchester, Mayor Andy Burnham introduced plans very similar to what we have seen in Bradford. This plan has been postponed and is now under review. Bradford Council must swallow their pride and scrap the whole thing, and seek a better non-taxing alternative.

“We cannot deny that change is needed to protect the environment. But a plan which will do little more than target hard-working people is not the answer. I am calling on Bradford Council to scrap the CAZ tax.”

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