People of Sheffield voice concern over Clean Air Zone charges as scheme is set to launch

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Sheffield Council’s planned Clean Air Zone has faced harsh criticism from the people of Sheffield, with many claiming it will do more harm than good.

The scheme, which goes live on Monday, February 27, will charge heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), light goods vehicles (LGVs), vans, buses, coaches and taxis that drive within the inner ring road and city centre.

Since its announcement the clean air zone has been met with resistance from a large portion of the Sheffield community.

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Commenting on Sheffield Council’s announcement of the scheme on Facebook, Richard Large described it as absolutely disgusting.

The Clean Air Zone scheme in Sheffield comes into force on Monday, February 27The Clean Air Zone scheme in Sheffield comes into force on Monday, February 27
The Clean Air Zone scheme in Sheffield comes into force on Monday, February 27

Mr Large added: “I’ll have to find an extra £200 a month to work in the town centre, add this onto increased energy bills, fuel and food prices.

“If you think this doesn’t affect you then think again, next it will be all vehicles GUARANTEED!!”

Mark Fletcher, also replying to the announcement, said the scheme was “pure discrimination, bullying and insulting to hard working people”.

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By implementing the scheme, Sheffield Council hopes to bring down pollution and improve air quality in the city centre.

But many people fear the charges for driving commercial vehicles in the city centre will negatively affect Sheffield’s businesses.

Another commenter, Allison Smith, said: “What an absolute disgrace, this is going to kill the city centre once and for all and small businesses in the centre will be destroyed.”

One business owner, Julian Lewis Shaw, said he would prefer the council to invest in public transport, but backed the scheme so long as it brings down pollution.

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He said: “Personally I’m happy to have a bit more inconvenience in running my business if it means fewer people die from pollution. Though of course the proof is what will actually happen.”

Some areas of Sheffield are currently exceeding legal limits of Nitrogen Dioxide and air pollution contributes to 500 deaths per year in the city.

But some people claim the introduction of the zone will only cause drivers to avoid the ring road and create more pollution on the outskirts of the city.

Matthew Lee Robinson, commenting on the council’s Facebook post, said: “It’s just going to push the problem somewhere else people will just drive the long way around to where they need to get to, creating pollution in other areas.”

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The Clean Air Zone will cover the city centre as well as the ring road around Sheffield, the full map can be found on Sheffield City Council’s website.

Another angry resident, Stella Nicholson, said: “The ring road was built to stop traffic going through the city centre. You are forcing traffic out of the ring road to drive more miles to avoid the charges.”

The current scheme does not apply to private cars and motorbikes but some residents fear the scheme may include them in the future as was the case in London.

The council says money earned from the zone will go to the cost of running the scheme and other projects to reduce air pollution.

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