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Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone marks first year since launch

Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone, brought in as part of Sheffield City Council’s commitment to clean up the air we breathe, marks its first year since launch today.

Introduced on Monday 27 February 2023, the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) aims to reduce harmful levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) across Sheffield caused by polluting vehicles.

Across the UK, road transport is responsible for 80 per cent of roadside NO2 pollution alone, that’s why, through the CAZ, heavily polluting, non-compliant lorries, vans, buses, coaches, and taxis are charged to drive within the zone in Sheffield. Private cars are not charged, and the council has no plans to change this.

Since the launch, data has shown that the number of non-compliant vehicles has reduced by nearly two-thirds, showing that people are making the switch to cleaner vehicles. The Sheffield City Council-led information compared the number of polluting vehicles using the zone in October 2023 with those entering the area in November 2022, prior to the CAZ being introduced.

In December 2022, ahead of the launch of the CAZ, the council launched its Financial Assistance Scheme to support those with the most polluting vehicles to replace or upgrade to a cleaner vehicle. To date, more than 2,000 grant awards have been made, totalling £4.2million with more applications still in process.

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

“It’s been a year since the Clean Air Zone was first introduced and I want to thank the people of Sheffield and businesses in the area for their response. The data is showing that people are making the switch to cleaner vehicles. Taking the most polluting lorries, vans and buses off our streets and improving the air that we breathe.

“I’m delighted to see so many businesses have taken the opportunity to use our financial support packages in order to upgrade or replace their vehicles and don’t forget we don’t charge private cars.

“Through our Clean Air Investment Plan, we’re investing a million pounds to go even further to provide projects that will enable us to improve our air quality. But we can’t do that on our own. We need central government to help us complete the job, including delivering zero emission buses to Sheffield.

“Thank you once again for the changes that you’ve made over the past year. Together, we’re saving lives by improving air quality in this city.”

In addition to the financial support the Council offered businesses in Sheffield and Rotherham, grant funding was also made available for residents and companies that had already replaced a polluting vehicle after 26 October 2021. Local exemptions and discounts were also brought in for vehicles including buses, coaches or minibuses being used for educational trips, vehicles being used for community transport, and if you owned a non-commercial vintage bus or vintage emergency service vehicle.

As a result of the Clean Air Zone, several projects, aimed at improving the air quality around schools in Sheffield, are set to benefit with £1million being invested in the expansion of School Streets and part-time 20mph zones. Announced as part of the Clean Air Investment Plan, the projects will create a safer environment for children travelling to and from school and also encourage pupils and parents to adopt a more active lifestyle by walking, cycling, and wheeling.