This is what Sheffield residents think about plans for a clean air zone in the city centre

More than 12,000 people have taken part in Sheffield Council’s consultation on plans for a clean air zone, which will charge all but private vehicles to drive in the city centre.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 11:43 am

The zone is set to be introduced this year and will impose a charge for buses, vans, taxis, coaches and lorries of up to £50 a day to drive the inner ring road and city centre, including Park Square and the A61/Parkway junction.

Sheffield Council said the aim is to encourage upgrades to more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

During the two month consultation on the plans, four out of five people said clean air should be a priority and half said the proposals covered the right area, with some saying they wanted the area to be bigger.

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Over 12,000 people have taken part in a consultation on plans for a clean air zone in Sheffield city centre

Greg Fell, director for public health, said: “On days of poor air pollution, we see more people having asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. Poor air quality is being linked with other diseases, including dementia - it’s something we can’t ignore.”

Although, 69 percent of businesses predicted it to have a negative impact on them, with 12 percent saying they would avoid the zone rather than upgrade vehicles.

Small businesses in particular were concerned about the financial impact - especially about whether to pay the costs of upgrading their vehicles or the costs of the daily charge.

Taxi drivers were also concerned, with 95 percent likely having to upgrade their vehicles to avoid paying the fee. More than 100 taxi drivers previously said they already quit the job ahead of the changes.

Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and sustainability, said: "The survey results show people want to see action taken - but if we're going to be successful in reducing pollution we need to help taxi drivers and local small businesses move to cleaner vehicles.”

Most respondants said there needed to be an improvement in public transport and streets for walking and cycling too.

The council says air pollution contributes to 500 deaths a year in Sheffield.

Sheffield Council said it is not yet charging private cars as they predict this would cause people to avoid the zone and create traffic elsewhere.