Clean Air Zone: 83 dirty Sheffield Council vehicles will be charged if driven into city centre
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Tom Smith, director of direct services, revealed the figure in a finance committee meeting yesterday and said it equated to nine per cent of the authority’s total fleet.
He said the council did not see this as a problem because short-term exemptions will apply to some of them and the authority will work around the zone (CAZ) to avoid the charge.
“But we do need to replace them in the long term because it is the right thing to do to maintain clean air in the city,” he added.
Mr Smith was fairly confident the council would replace the vehicles in the next financial year as part of its ongoing programme to upgrade its fleet to be as clean as possible.
He could not confirm if the council would benefit from grants to upgrade vehicles but he did say any charges would be paid for by the authority.
“If we are running a vehicle and it isn’t compliant with the Clean Air Zone and we tell a member of staff to drive into the CAZ clearly we would be paying the charge because we have instructed that member of staff to do that,” he said.
“My view is that this will be a rare occurrence because these are a small number of vehicles in our overall fleet and because we feel we can work around the CAZ with the fleet we have got. We have a big enough fleet that we shouldn’t need to drive these vehicles that are not compliant into the Clean Air Zone.
“It’s important not just from a charging perspective but it’s important from a clean air perspective. We don’t want to drive these vehicles into the Clean Air Zone.”
Councillor Joe Otten, member of the committee, said: “I hope we don’t detour around the Clean Air Zone and go a further distance and worsen the air quality for more people. Given the revenue comes back into the council, it would make more sense to pay the charge.”
The CAZ will come into action on Monday, February 27.