Plan for Clean Air Zone prompts 12,000 responses

Nearly 12,000 people have commented on proposals for a Clean Air Zone around Sheffield city centre – but critics say the plans don’t go far enough.

Thursday, 29th August 2019, 07:50 am
Updated Thursday, 29th August 2019, 07:51 am
Coun Bob Johnson

For the past few weeks, Sheffield Council has been consulting on whether to introduce charges for driving into the city centre.

The Clean Air Zone around the ring road and inner ring road would levy a charge of £50 a day for buses and £10 a day for taxis, lorries, vans and coaches.

It’s an attempt to slash the levels of nitrogen dioxide amid pressure from the Government but Sheffield Green Party says private car drivers should also be charged.

The council says there was a “late spike in responses” , which will be used for the final plans when they go before Cabinet later this year.

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An independent company will be in charge of writing the final report which will be published in the autumn, along with the data from the surveys.

More than 2,300 responses came from private hire and taxi owners. They say the charge is unfair as there are 185,000 private vehicles but only 3,000 have taxi licences.

Coun Bob Johnson, Cabinet member for transport and development, said: “From talking to people over the last two months, the message is clear – air pollution is a big issue and people want clean air.

“However we have to ensure that food can still be delivered, that buses still run and children can get on a coach for a school trip.

“Our focus for next year, if we get the money we’ve asked for from the government, will be to help the owners of these vehicles upgrade to the cleanest available before 2021.”

Sheffield Green Party said private cars cause half of all traffic-related pollution and the proposals also adversely and disproportionately affect public transport and smaller businesses.

Coun Douglas Johnson said: “The fact that the council has been forced by the government to look at charging in a Clean Air Zone is an admission of failure.

“Private cars cause half of all the air pollution from traffic. Consulting on a proposal to charge private cars would have been the ideal opportunity to ask how people would tackle this public health crisis.”