Leeds to restrict buses, lorries and taxis, but polluting cars can keep on driving

05 Dec 2017
Leeds City Council announces plans for a Clean Air Zone to deal with the city's air pollution, but disappointingly they fail to deal with polluting cars or vans.

Leeds’ Clean Air Zone plans fail to take the bold step needed to get the city’s toxic air under control and restrict cars says Friends of the Earth, as proposals for the scheme are announced today by Leeds City Council (5 December 2017).

The plans would see the most polluting buses, lorries and taxis charged for entering a significant portion of the city, but the council has failed to include any restrictions on cars or vans. This omission consigns Leeds residents to breathing illegally dirty air for longer than necessary.

Air pollution is responsible for 350 early deaths each year in Leeds alone, which is one of dozens of UK towns and cities across the country with illegally high levels of air pollution.

Simon Bowens, Friends of the Earth Yorkshire campaigner, said:

“Toxic air is blighting Britain; with lives cut short simply because of the air we’re breathing.

“Leeds residents will continue to breathe illegally polluted air for longer because Leeds City Council has failed to take the bold and vital step of restricting polluting cars from the heart of the city.

“This decision also flies in the face of recent high court rulings demanding the government get air pollution down to legal levels in the shortest time possible.

“Diesel cars are one of the biggest parts of the pollution problem. Any plan that doesn’t deter their use is half-baked at best.

“Many people bought diesel cars in good faith, which is why the government must urgently introduce a scrappage scheme to complement Clean Air Zones and help people ditch the most polluting vehicles.”