Sheffield air pollution zone inches forward as review 'nears completion'

A review into Sheffield’s planned pollution zone is ‘nearing completion’ six months after the project was halted due to the pandemic.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 12:38 pm

A city council spokeswoman said officials had been working with the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit on the Clean Air Zone and it was nearing completion.

It had been ‘essential’ to consider the impact on taxi drivers and coach operators, she added.

Both sectors will have to upgrade their fleets but had been ‘significantly affected’ by the pandemic.

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The authority consulted on plans for a clean air zone in 2019 and 80 per cent of 12,000 people who responded said improving air quality should be a priority.

Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone, is set to be on and inside the inner ring road and charge lorries and taxis £10 to enter. The project was halted in September due to the pandemic.

The update comes after Pat Coupar voiced his dismay in a letter to The Star.

He said: “Six months on, emission levels are returning to pre-Covid levels and Sheffield will continue to be in breach of legal restrictions on air quality. And, as yet, we’ve heard nothing from the council.”

He added: “The council has seemingly bent to the will of the business lobby in complete dereliction of their responsibility to residents.

“This situation is legally and morally unacceptable and, quite rightly, leaves the authority vulnerable to litigation whilst continuing to expose residents to the deadly effects of vehicle emissions.”

The council consulted on plans for a clean air zone in 2019 and 80 per cent of 12,000 people who responded said improving air quality should be a priority.

The city council spokeswoman added: “We are continuing to work closely with Government to improve air quality in Sheffield. Our outline local Clean Air Zone proposals were submitted to Government in December 2018, and Government confirmed their approval in February 2020, shortly before the start of the global pandemic.

“As of September 2020 we announced a review of these proposals to understand the likely impacts of COVID 19 and of other changes since 2018.

“Both Sheffield and Rotherham are under the same legal direction from Government to reduce air pollution in the fastest possible time.

“In 2019 Sheffield consulted on a Clean Air Zone, Rotherham’s proposals included a number of highway improvement schemes.

“Decisions about the review will need to be agreed with Government and we will provide an update as soon as we are able.”

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Thank you. Nancy Fielder, editor.