CAZs delayed by DfT vehicle data
The government will fail to deliver on time the vehicle data system promised for Clean Air Zones in Birmingham and Leeds, and has also reneged on its promise to provide a CAZ payment system, burdening councils with the cost.
Both Birmingham City Council and Leeds City Council say they had been on track to implement Clean Air Zones on the basis that a vehicle checker tool, which is being delivered by the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), would be ready by October 2019 as planned.
However, JAQU (a joint unit between DfT and DEFRA) has now confirmed that the vehicle checker will not be available until at least December 2019 — leaving just weeks before the zones were due to come into force in January 2020.
Additionally, the Government is now expecting local authorities to deliver a system for collecting payments from non-compliant vehicles which enter the Clean Air Zone — having previously said that it would deliver this.
Cllr James Lewis, Deputy Leader for Leeds City Council, said: “It is extremely disappointing that Leeds has been forced to delay the introduction of one of the UK’s first Clean Air Zones because of the Government’s failure to meet its own commitments to the two largest local authorities.
“Despite this delay we will continue to financially support owners of affected vehicles switching to less polluting models that will not be charged, as doing so is the best way to improve air quality prior to the charging zone’s introduction. As planned, we will also begin to install the camera infrastructure required for the zone within the next few weeks.”