The Freight Transport Association believes that any businesses operating in and around Leeds need clarification on Leeds City Council’s newly-approved Clean Air Zone.
Businesses need to understand how to access funding to replace banned commercial vehicles ahead of February 2020 when the low emission zone comes into effect.
Without funding, many companies will struggle to replace their existing fleets which will impact their fulfilment of business contracts in and around the city, threatening future profitability and trading.
The Council is to grant businesses up to £16,000 to replace HGVs which do not meet the required emission standards. “But this funding is subject to a competition, and the freight industry urgently needs details on how businesses can apply and what the conditions are,” said FTA head of policy North of England, Malcolm Bingham.
“The logistics industry desperately needs clarity on the options available to them – including where to apply and when – for them to reach compliance before the Zone comes into effect in just one year.”
However, the exemption of core industrial areas Holbeck, Pudsey and Seacroft from the proposed Zone until 2024 could mitigate the very worst potential economic damage. “This move should also give logistics businesses more time to upgrade their fleets to meet the required emission standards,” said Bingham.
“Nevertheless, the exemption of three areas is not enough to prevent operating costs for small businesses from soaring,” continued Bingham. This penalises the companies and individuals that keep Leeds’s economy thriving, ignoring other contributors to emissions levels across the city. “This is unfair and essentially amounts to a tax on business,” concluded Bingham.