Clean Air Zone Sheffield: Green councillor Douglas Johnson admits it will be 'difficult' for some businesses

A top Green councillor described the first day of Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone yesterday as a ‘soft launch’ because ‘very few’ vehicles were being charged.
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Coun Douglas Johnson said many were exempt until June, including some taxis and van owners. Almost all buses have been upgraded and are not being charged, as well as any vehicle newer than 2016, which includes a lot of lorries, he said.

The CAZ, launched yesterday, also does not charge cars or motorcycles and there was “realistically no prospect” of that changing, he added.

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And there are millions of pounds to help local businesses upgrade vehicles, he said.

Coun Douglas Johnson said the first day of the CAZ was a time for reflection after pushing for it for many years.Coun Douglas Johnson said the first day of the CAZ was a time for reflection after pushing for it for many years.
Coun Douglas Johnson said the first day of the CAZ was a time for reflection after pushing for it for many years.

He said: “I don’t want to underestimate that for some businesses and some individuals will find this a bit difficult to live with. But we certainly can’t live with killer air pollution.”

He added: “It’s a day for careful reflection on steady progress. We’ve been pushing for action on air pollution for many years, that’s because it kills people and it causes long-term respiratory illnesses which are pretty horrible.”

Sheffield milk company Our Cow Molly tweeted there was no exemption for their small 5.5 tonne lorries. They posted: “Basically been told by @SheffCouncil they can’t help unless a category HGV under 12t is added.”

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Boss Eddie Andrew previously told The Star the CAZ could cost the firm £28,600-a-year.

Sheffield City Council received £24m to help businesses. Previous analysis showed 17,500 drivers would need a grant to upgrade vehicles but the government provided funding for only 2,500.

Last week Coun Mazher Iqbal said: “We don’t have a limitless amount of cash.”