Sheffield Clean Air Zone £1m income to be used to cut pollution near schools

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Sheffield aims to spend £1 million of Clean Air Zone income to reduce children’s exposure to road pollution when travelling to and at school.

The money, which comes from the income from Clean Air Zone charges to non-compliant commercial vehicles driving on or within the Inner Ring Road, will be spent on a range of schemes by Sheffield City Council.

Members of the council’s transport, regeneration and climate policy committee, meeting on Wednesday (February 14), agreed this should include:

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  • Expanding delivery of the School Streets programme that prevents parking near schools when children are arriving and leaving;
  • Expanding the Mode Shift Stars active travel plan scheme to reach more schools;
  • Delivering 20mph part-time zones outside schools that are priority locations but are not yet funded;
  • Increasing neighbourhood cycle parking and storage.
Sheffield Clean Air Zone - £1m of income from the scheme will be spent on cutting traffic pollution near city schoolsSheffield Clean Air Zone - £1m of income from the scheme will be spent on cutting traffic pollution near city schools
Sheffield Clean Air Zone - £1m of income from the scheme will be spent on cutting traffic pollution near city schools

Plans are also being developed for other initiatives to use the income, such as creating green plant walls. These help to trap harmful pollutants and carbon dioxide and release oxygen.


Coun Denise Fox said: “What we are told over and over again is the enforcement of idling engines outside schools and although we have the signs people ignore them, they park across no-go lines and obviously when we get the enforcement officers there, they disappear, then the day after they’re back again.”

She asked if red lines were being considered to enforce school parking rules, adding “it’s horrendous, particularly my area of Birley, but I’ve witnessed it also at other schools”.

Tom Finnegan-Smith, council head of strategic transport and infrastructure, replied: “I absolutely agree there are real challenges around people’s compliance, that consistent enforcement is essential. We do have a limited resource in terms of ‘boots on the street’ and they do go to priority areas whenever possible, and also respond to reports of issues.”

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He said drivers must be advised to switch off their engines and refuse to comply before they can be fined. There is already enforcement on city zigzag markings so anyone seen parking could get an immediate penalty.

The CAZ scheme has been in place since February 2023 and the forecast surplus for the 2023-24 financial year is £536k. As the number of non-compliant vehicles drops, income will gradually decrease.

The committee was told that there has been a reduction of 64 per cent in the proportion of non-compliant vehicles in the CAZ area since the scheme has been running.

This includes an 81 per cent decrease for all public hire vehicles and a 52 per cent drop for coaches and buses.


By February 2 this year, a total of 1,232 applicants had received financial assistance to upgrade or replace a vehicle. Of those, 580 were for light goods vans, 343 were for Hackney taxis, 249 were private hire taxis, 51 were HGVs, plus eight coaches and one bus.

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Meanwhile, the government-funded retrofitting of city buses to make them compliant with the CAZ standards has been halted as the government is investigating whether the work is actually delivering what is intended.

Mr Finnegan-Smith said that 300 out of the bus fleet of 400 had been retrofitted and work was due to take place on the remaining 100.

The South Yorkshire mayoral authority has also applied for government funding for 65 electric buses and the charging infrastructure to serve routes across Sheffield. A decision is expected next month.

Mr Finnegan-Smith said that bus companies have tested out electric buses and say they will work on the city’s hilly terrain.

Committee chair Coun Ben Miskell said: “Our ambition is for 400 EVs [electric vehicles] in Sheffield. We need the government to match our ambition.”