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Coronavirus: Leeds asks for delay to clean air zone

Leeds City Council has joined Birmingham City Council in asking the Government to delay implementing its clean air zone (CAZ), which was due to go live on September 28.

The request was outlined in a joint statement issued by the chief executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan and the council’s leader, Councillor Judith Blake.

They said: “We have asked the government for permission to delay the implementation of the clean air charging zone until further notice and we have suspended repayments for taxi and private hire owners who have received an interest-free loan.

“We are still accepting and continuing to pay grant payments for those vehicle owners switching to cleaner vehicles.”

From the September, it had planned to charge buses, coaches, heavy goods vehicles, taxis and private hire vehicles, which failed to meet minimum emissions standards will be charged for driving within the zone’s boundary.

The zone comes after the Government directed Leeds City Council to tackle air pollution in Leeds as soon as possible after finding that parts of the city would likely exceed legal air quality limits.

Birmingham City Council has written to ministers requesting the launch of its CAZ is delayed as it deals with the coronavirus crisis.

The impact of COVID-19 on businesses has meant that their current focus is on trying to support employees rather than upgrade vehicle fleets, it said.

Birmingham was another city mandated by Government to tackle air pollution in Leeds as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, both Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council say zero emission zone (ZEZ) due to open in Oxford at the end of the year has been delayed to summer 2021.

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