Sheffield City Council hires £39,000 spin doctor to sell delayed Clean Air Zone

An expensive spin doctor is being hired ‘to convince people Sheffield’s delayed Clean Air Zone is a great idea’, an opposition councillor has claimed.

Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 7:58 am

The city council has been advertising for a communications officer on up to £39,500 to campaign for the scheme which will charge some vehicles in the city centre.

Last month The Star revealed the ‘go live’ date had been pushed back to 2023, some two years after a deadline.

The delay could see government claw back almost £24m and hit the council with a judicial review.

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Car belching out exhaust fumes. Sheffield Council's Clean Air Zone won't be in place until 2023 'at the earliest'

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Lib Dems in Sheffield, said the new post was costly ‘when money is tight’.

He added: “The council is spending a significant amount of taxpayers’ money on a spin doctor to try to get themselves out of a hole they got themselves into. It feels like they are trying to convince people the CAZ is a good idea.”

The zone was announced in 2018. It was delayed in 2020 due to Covid-19 and a new date of 2022 was given.

It was pushed back again last month.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed.

When it is finally implemented, drivers of taxis, vans, buses, coaches and lorries - with engines more polluting than the Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol emission standard - will have to pay a daily charge to drive into the city centre or use the inner ring road. This will be £10 a day for vans and taxis and £50 a day for coaches, buses and lorries.

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