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New data shows a drop in polluting vehicles driving in Sheffield

Following the launch of Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) earlier this year, data shows there has been a significant increase in compliant vehicles driving in the CAZ and wider areas of the city.

The proportion of more polluting vehicles driving through Sheffield has fallen by up to two thirds according to information taken from a survey in October 2023 when compared with the same survey from November 2022.

The city’s CAZ came into effect on Monday 27 February 2023, with the aim to reduce the harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) across Sheffield caused by polluting traffic. The Class C charging zone requires the most heavily polluting, non-compliant lorries, vans, buses, coaches and taxis to pay a fee to drive into the zone, with a view to encourage motorist to upgrade their vehicles to cleaner ones. Private passenger cars and motorbikes are not affected.  

In the first, Council-led, fleet data to be released since the zone was brought into operation, the number of polluting vehicles using the CAZ has fallen by nearly two thirds overall with big improvements across all vehicle types. Private Hire Vehicles are now 96 percent compliant compared to 77 percent before the CAZ was launched and Light Goods Vehicles are now 84 percent compliant compared to 59 percent before. The data shows that vehicles in Sheffield haven’t just improved within the CAZ boundary, but this benefit is also seen outside of the zone.   

Cllr Ben Miskell, Chair of the Transport, Regeneration and Climate Committee said:

“Hundreds of people in Sheffield die prematurely each year due to air pollution, cleaning up the quality of the air we breathe around Sheffield is rightly one of our top priorities and this data shows that motorists are helping by moving to cleaner vehicles in response to the Clean Air Zone.

In order to support local people to upgrade to cleaner vehicles, the council secured one of the best possible financial support packages across any local authority. 

The council also met regularly with local businesses to best understand their needs and tailor support to their requirements, where possible. 

Cllr Miskell continued: “Ahead of the launch of the CAZ, we petitioned the government hard to provide the best possible financial support package for local people and it’s great to see so many people applying for support to upgrade their vehicle. The Financial Assistance Scheme support is still available to those wishing to upgrade and we would encourage people to apply." 

The support package includes: 

  • A Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) to support people to upgrade to a cleaner vehicle.
  • The Retrospective Scheme, which provided financial support towards the costs incurred for those who have already upgraded their vehicles. This scheme is no longer available.
  • An automatic exemption from CAZ charges for all Hackney Carriage Taxi’s, for over three months.
  • Expansion of the FAS to include local HGV owners who wish to upgrade or replace non-compliant HGVs.
  • Exemptions for coach operators passing through the CAZ to transport students for educational trips.
  • 12-month exemptions for vehicles meeting special criteria, such as community transport and hard-to-replace vehicles. The council also introduced automatic 12-month exemption renewals for those vehicle types.

To learn more about Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone or to apply for financial support, please visit the website: