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Brakes applied to Newcastle Clean Air Zone


Newcastle City Council (NCC) has sought a delay to the start date of its Clean Air Zone (CAZ), originally scheduled to be introduced this summer (July 2022).

Logistics UK, which was only informed of the request to delay its introduction at a meeting of the North East Freight Quality Partnership two weeks ago, understands that NCC is yet to receive an official response from ministers to its proposals for a Class C CAZ, which will affect HGVs and vans. The council’s proposals were submitted to government nearly six months ago, and a meeting with ministers is scheduled to discuss the scheme.

Given that the financial boundaries of the scheme were set pre-pandemic, NCC will be seeking additional funding. It will also be raising concerns about the challenges surrounding the availability of compliant vehicles, owing in large part to a shortage of semi-conductor chips and other components in supply chains.

While businesses can make applications, NCC will not be awarding any financial support to businesses until the final fund amount is agreed with government. The council intends to join the Bath and North East Somerset grant scheme which allows other local authorities to use the existing framework and offers companies the option to apply for interest-free loans to pay for new vehicles, linked to grants awarded. Any business awarded a grant or a loan will be offered a sunset period, whilst they await delivery of new vehicles.

Mags Simpson, Head of Policy Engagement, Logistics UK, said: “While Logistics UK supports the government’s objective to improve air quality in our city centres, this request from Newcastle City Council to delay the start date of its Clean Air Zone seems both fair and proportionate in the circumstances.

“Increasing fuel and other costs are placing a growing burden on operators that deliver into our city centres. We will continue to campaign for an approach that balances the need to improve the air quality in urban areas like Newcastle with the need to ensure that our cities remain supplied with essential goods and services at a cost which is not prohibitive to our members.”

To discover the latest on Clean Air Zones plans, read Logistics UK’s members-only briefing note for March 2022.

*www.logistics.org.uk/urban

Published On: 24/03/2022 16:00:42

 

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