Clean Air Zone Sheffield: Concern as 1,900 wait for cash to upgrade vehicles

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“It’s been more than a year, why is it taking so long to get the money out of the door?"

Hundreds of drivers are waiting for £9m to upgrade vehicles almost a year after Sheffield's Clean Air Zone went live.

Some 1,900 applications are still being ‘assessed’ by the city council, worth about £9m, new figures show.

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Coun Ben Miskell, left, and Coun Shaffaq Mohammed.Coun Ben Miskell, left, and Coun Shaffaq Mohammed.
Coun Ben Miskell, left, and Coun Shaffaq Mohammed. | Other

The backlog is nearly double the 1,048 that have been approved - worth £4.2m - since a support scheme opened in December 2022.

The Clean Air Zone launched on February 27, 2023. Sheffield City Council received £24m to set it up and pay for vehicle upgrades and replacements

Lib Dem leader Shaffaq Mohammed said he was worried about the impact on business and the signal it sent to government.

He said: “It’s been more than a year, why is it taking so long to get the money out of the door? They’re not even half way through the applications. Businesses need to know whether they will get financial help or not.

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“We can’t be in the same position as we were during Covid when government took back millions of unspent business support grants. Sheffield City Council needs to look at this urgently.”

Fraudulent clean air zone websites have been appearing at the top of search results. Picture: Dean AtkinsFraudulent clean air zone websites have been appearing at the top of search results. Picture: Dean Atkins
Fraudulent clean air zone websites have been appearing at the top of search results. Picture: Dean Atkins

The CAZ boundary follows the inner ring road. It charges older vans and cabs £10-a-day and buses and lorries £50. Fines start at £60. In its first eight months it raked in £3.3m in fees and fines.

Coun Ben Miskell, chair of the transport, regeneration and climate committee, said the government was “very satisfied” with the way the council rolled out “all elements” of the CAZ. And there were no current grounds for clawback of the money.

Since it launched there had been a 64 percent drop in non-compliant vehicles compared to November 2022, he added.

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“While processing applications can take time, it allows us to work with the applicant to ensure they have the right evidence and purchase the correct replacement vehicle before their request can be approved," he said.

“We have, throughout the process, operated the CAZ in line with guidelines dictated to us by Government and continue to engage with them to ensure the best possible options and funding arrangements for Sheffield. Indeed, we understand that Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit, who oversee the CAZ, have been very satisfied with the way the council has rolled out all elements of the CAZ.”

Some £4m is still available and the replacement scheme was still open, he added.

A scheme offering grants for cleaner vehicles after they had been bought closed in July last year.

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