Leeds CAZ introduction paused

Plans to implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Leeds have been paused.

Councillor James Lewis, Deputy Leader and Executive Member with responsibility for air quality, has said air quality in the West Yorkshire city is actually getting better. If the city’s air pollution is expected to stay below legal limits then the council will no longer have the support of the government to introduce a charging CAZ. Given this uncertainty, its financial support will continue to be paused until the review is complete.

Cllr James Lewis said: “As a result of the coronavirus pandemic we have seen pollution levels fall significantly due to the quieter roads. Leeds residents now breathe air that is considerably cleaner and safer than just a few months ago.

“Coronavirus has led to big changes but, thanks to the city’s collective action, local air quality has actually been improving for some time.

“Many of our buses, taxis, private hire and businesses are now driving cleaner vehicles and we’ve accelerated highways schemes that will reduce traffic and create more space for cyclists and pedestrians. We’re investing in public transport infrastructure as part of our £270 million Connecting Leeds transport programme and have introduced policies and schemes to support the uptake of electric and low emission vehicles.

“Leeds City Council is now working closely with central government to review the long term impact that the pandemic and these other factors will have on the city’s air quality to understand whether pollution will ever reach illegal levels.”

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