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Thursday, December 7, 2023

So, when will the Clean Air Zone actually launch?

The Clean Air Zone in Bradford was supposed to go live in spring, but the Council is yet to announce a date for the controversial scheme.

Amid the cost-of-living-crisis and exorbitant costs of fuel, a question on everybody’s minds in Bradford is when the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is going to come into effect.

The 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.

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.

The Clean Air Zone will impact Bradford centre, through Manningham Lane, up to Saltaire.

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 was initially supposed to go live at the beginning of the New Year but was pushed back to “allow more businesses to access grants and funding” to replace or upgrade their work vehicles to be CAZ compliant.

The Council also said the delay was to “provide more time for Council system to integrate with the Government’s national IT infrastructure which manages all CAZ across the country”.

The Council pushed back the scheme “until the spring” but as we head into June, the Council is yet to announce when the project is going to come into force.

Robbie Moore has called for the Clean Air Zone to be scrapped.

The Council says it is waiting for a start date from the Government with a spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirming that the launch date is a joint decision between the Government and local authorities.

Local councillors and MP for Keighley and Ilkley, Robbie Moore, have called for the plan to be scrapped as it will negatively impact hardworking small business owners who operate.

Business owners in Manningham have previously told Asian Standard that they are worried about the impact that the zone will have on them as they use vans to transport items in and around Bradford. One business owner said that he may even be forced to sell up because of the impacts of the CAZ and the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Bradford Council, said: “We expect Government to give a start date for the CAZ soon at which point we will make an announcement.

“The ANPR camera network is prepared and we have provided grants to Bradford businesses that, so far, have translated into 90% of Bradford taxis being compliant along with 317 buses and 20% of HGVs in the district being upgraded to meet the CAZ emission requirements.

“An extensive exemptions programme has recently been launched, where Bradford businesses can register their vehicles so that they will not have to pay. Certain vehicles in businesses based outside the District can also apply for an exemption. Getting an exemption means that they will not have to pay to drive in the Bradford Clean Air Zone.

“Wherever you live you will not be charged to drive a passenger car or motorbike in the Bradford Clean Air Zone. This means that you do not need to take any action or apply for an exemption.”

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