23 December 2021| | 4 min read
Clean Air Zone newsletter – December 2021
If you’ve signed up for updates regarding the Clean Air Zone and the support that will be available for those affected you should have received our first newsletter by email.
It’s worth checking your spam or junk folder if it hasn’t arrived in your inbox as some email servers send emails there depending on your settings.
The full newsletter is copied below for anyone who hasn’t received it or hasn’t yet signed up.
If you’d like to get updates by email please complete the sign up form at www.breathe-cleanair.com.
Thank you for signing up for updates regarding the Clean Air Zone that is being introduced by Newcastle and Gateshead Councils in 2022.
We’re currently waiting for feedback from government in response to our proposals but wanted to give you a brief update in advance of confirming details of support packages next year.
The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) will cover most of Newcastle city centre as well as the routes between Gateshead and Newcastle on the Tyne, Redheugh, Swing and High Level bridges.
Private cars and newer commercial vehicles, that meet the national CAZ emissions requirements set by government, will not be charged to enter the zone.
However, if you drive an older taxi, van, bus, coach or HGV that does not meet emissions requirements then you will have to pay a charge to enter the Clean Air Zone from July 2022.
We know that this will have a significant impact on many businesses so we are looking at ways that we can provide advice and financial support to help you.
We’re asking government for £23m to pay for grants that would help towards the cost of upgrading vehicles so that CAZ charges can be avoided.
As soon as we find out how much will be available we will get in touch with you to let you know about next steps.
In the meantime there are some frequently asked questions below that you may find helpful. You can also find out more about the CAZ at www.breathe-cleanair.com
If you know someone who would find this information useful please share it with them and let them know that they can sign up for direct updates via the website.
Best wishes for the festive season.
Why are you introducing a Clean Air Zone?
Newcastle and Gateshead councils are among a number of local authorities across the country that have been issued with a legal order by government.
This legal order demands that we take action to reduce illegal levels of air pollution caused by traffic in certain areas.
The order requires us to take action that will reduce pollution levels in the shortest possible time. We have looked at alternatives but none were found to be as effective in tackling pollution as quickly as a Clean Air Zone.
Birmingham, Bath and Portsmouth have already launched Clean Air Zones and others are also planned in, Sheffield, Greater Manchester, Bradford, Bristol and Stoke.
Poor air quality is linked with a number of serious health conditions, including heart disease, cancer and breathing problems. It is more likely to harm those who are older, children, those with existing health conditions and those who spend a lot of time sitting in vehicles in traffic, either driving or as a passenger.
Pollution is a serious threat to health and it’s important that we tackle it.
How were the plans decided?
We originally consulted on proposals for a Clean Air Zone in 2019 and more than 20,000 people and businesses from across the region took part.
Their responses, along with updated information and figures showing how different actions would affect levels of pollution, were used to help us develop the final plans that will be implemented.
Why are you targeting these particular vehicles and not cars?
The government has set out the four different types of Clean Air Zone that can be created and these guidelines mean that it isn’t possible to have a CAZ that only targets private cars.
Private cars can only be added to a Clean Air Zone once the other categories of vehicle have been included.
In our case, the Clean Air Zone we are introducing does not include private cars because modelling information of future pollution levels shows that we can achieve compliance with the legal limits without having to take this additional step, which helps to reduce the regional economic impact of the CAZ.
Consultation feedback on proposals to include cars in the original plans included many concerns about the financial impact this would have on individuals – particularly those on lower incomes.
We know these concerns also apply to businesses that are still affected by the CAZ and we are pushing government for as much support as possible to help towards the cost of upgrading your vehicle.
How much funding will be offered per vehicle?
We have requested a £23 million funding package from government so that we can offer greater support to businesses and individuals affected.
We are currently awaiting a response from government and will provide further information once we have confirmation of how much funding will be available.
We are hoping to hear back from them early in the new year.
Will there be any other support?
As well as financial support towards the cost of vehicle upgrades, we are also looking at making certain vehicles exempt from paying CAZ charges, either on a temporary or a permanent basis.
Temporary exemptions may be in place to cover vehicles where there are arrangements in place for them to be upgraded or where a vehicle may be subject to a finance agreement that is due to expire within a certain time limit.
These proposals are part of the plans that we have submitted to government and we will provide further details once we get confirmation from them.
How can I check my vehicle?
A national online vehicle checker will be made available so that you can check whether your vehicle will be expected to pay a CAZ charge.
This is managed by government and is not yet available for the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone.
There is guidance on which vehicles are likely to face charges on the Breathe website at www.breathe-cleanair.com.