Leeds has announced a potential halt to its plans for a Clean Air Zone in the wake of reduced traffic in the city during the pandemic leading to less air pollution in the city.
James Lewis, deputy leader for Leeds City Council, says: “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.”
The city council says it is now working 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.
“If the city’s air pollution is expected to stay below legal limits then we will no longer have the support of the government to introduce a charging Clean Air Zone,” adds Lewis. “Given this uncertainty, our financial support will continue to be paused until the review is complete and we have received further direction.
“I recognise that at an already uncertain time, this latest update will be frustrating for many businesses.
“However, I would like to ask drivers and operators for their continued patience whilst we carry out this urgent review. I hope to be able to clarify the future of the Leeds CAZ in the autumn.”