How would a Leeds Clean Air Zone affect local businesses?

Aiming to help decrease pollution, Leeds City Council proposed its Clean Air Zone (CAZ) scheme to the government last month. In this they outlined their idea to charge the ‘worst polluting’ buses, coaches and HGVs £50 per day, with £40 million being needed to actually deliver the plans.

Despite the submitted business case taking years of work, as per this article, it was promptly rejected by Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, who responded by saying that the bid needed to be reduced in cost and resubmitted.

As we work with hundreds of companies throughout Leeds, Yorkshire and the North of England, Walsh Taylor is particularly interested in the commercial impacts of the CAZ. Some fear that it will put firms under threat, whereas others argue that clean air is something to be strived for irrespective of the negative consequences.

Many organisations have a fleet of vehicles that do not meet the emissions regulations and these may not be able to afford new ones, for instance. To account for the charges, some would have to raise their prices and then be at risk of losing customers to the more cost-effective competitors that are based and operate outside of the zone.

Despite this being an understandable concern, it must be noted that £27 million of the requested £40 million was set to be used exclusively to support local Leeds businesses by either upgrading or retrofitting the necessary vehicles via grants and interest-free loans. There is therefore a clear indication that the council will continue to consider the commercial impacts in their upcoming resubmission.

Walsh Taylor will keep up-to-date with the developments and hope that a happy medium can be found that will be advantageous to all parties involved.

If you are based in Leeds or the surrounding Yorkshire area and are currently dealing with financial pressure, please do not hesitate to get in touch to see how we can help today by calling 03300 244 660.