Leeds Clean Air Zone (CAZ) Consultation (closes 2nd March)

We are encouraging all members and supporters to respond to the consultation regarding the proposed Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for Leeds. This offers the opportunity to press for improved cycling facilities, improved public transport, and restrictions on motor traffic. While the survey is largely multiple choice, there are a couple of opportunities to offer extended answers. Below are some points you may wish to include. We have only suggested responses for some questions, the rest should be answered as you choose.

Of course, the answers below are only suggestions, and are what we think would offer the biggest benefits for both air quality and cycling in Leeds.

The consultation can be found here: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/business/environmental-health-for-business/air-quality

Do you believe that improving air quality within the shortest possible timescale should be a priority for Leeds? By Leeds, we mean the Leeds area rather than just the city centre. 

Strongly agree

What impact do you feel a charging Clean Air Zone would have on reducing air pollution? 

A very significant impact

When setting the cost of a daily charge, which of the following objectives should Leeds City Council prioritise? (Tick one only) 

Encouraging the highest number of vehicles to be replaced by cleaner, less polluting vehicles

Under current proposals, private vehicles entering the Clean Air Zone would not be charged even if the vehicles do not meet minimum emissions requirements. To what extent do you agree with this approach? 

Strongly disagree

Leeds City Council are proposing several additional measures that could be implemented to improve air quality in Leeds. Please rate the importance that should be assigned to each one. 

Important to select the following two as high importance. The others do little to reduce our reliance on private cars, so please indicate the importance of those as you wish.

·       Developing opportunities to extend the cycle superhighway in Leeds

·       Establishing a Clean Air Zone as soon as feasibly possible

Are there any other additional measures you feel the council should be taking to improve air quality?

·       Wide area of the CAZ (all the way to the outer ring road and M62 is welcome, however residents of townships outside this area may want to request their inclusion, otherwise there is a risk that the most polluting vehicles could be displaced to these areas (e.g. Pudsey, Rothwell, Horsforth, Yeadon, Guiseley, Garforth, Alwoodley)

·       Current plans exclude the charging of private cars and Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs). These make up the majority of traffic on the roads in Leeds, so discouraging their use could do wonders for air quality and congestion. The CAZ should be classified as a CAZ D which includes private cars and LGVs.

·       Impact on low income families is highlighted as the main reason for not introducing a CAZ D. Because the CAZ will be implemented with the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, there is the possibility to offer reduced rates, or price capping to groups as desired. This serves to not overly penalise, whilst still discouraging private car use.

·       Focus should be providing on alternatives to private car use, rather than trying to transition existing drivers into electric cars. This may well improve air quality, but does nothing for congestion, and does not address the health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

·       New developments (housing, retail, and industrial) should be built to so that they are easily accessible by active and sustainable transport modes. For residential areas well served by public and active transport, the use and ownership of private cars should be discouraged.

·       A Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) should be introduced in central Leeds and expanded as walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure improves. This has two main benefits: It results in mode shift from private cars to other forms of transport, and it raises ring fenced funds for improvements in active and sustainable transport. This has been applied with great success in Nottingham, and could be applied alongside CAZ B as precursor to a full implementation of CAZ D at a later date.

·       Any advice given to businesses replacing HGVS should encourage them to replace them with direct vision HGVs. Any contractors working on Council or WYCA contracts should be mandated to use direct vision HGVs.

How satisfied are you that Leeds City Council will sufficiently address the problem of nitrogen dioxide in Leeds as quickly as possible with a combination of the proposed measures set out in this consultation? 

Dissatisfied (explanation below)

The modelling shows that Including private cars and LGVs in the Clean air Zone (CAZ D) will likely result in the biggest improvements in air quality. Thus, we should be implementing a CAZ D rather than the proposed CAZ B

Do you have any additional comments or suggestions relating to the improvement of air quality in Leeds? 

Promoting large road schemes by suggesting that they improve air quality by ‘improving the flow of traffic’ is fundamentally wrong. Significant improvement in air quality can only be achieved by enabling a mode shift from private cars to sustainable and active modes of transport. 

Focus should be on enabling and encouraging people out of private cars. Electric cars are not a solution as they still cause congestion, and will bring additional problems such as street clutter. Cycling, Walking, and public transport must be prioritised.