PMQs: PM says Clean Air Zone is ‘unworkable’
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A handful of cities around the UK now have some form of emissions-based charging zone, including Low Emission Zones seen in Scotland, Clean Air Zones like Bath and Birmingham, Oxford’s Zero Emission Zone and London’s ULEZ. Sheffield is to launch its Clean Air Zone on Monday, February 27, with motorhome owners being warned of daily charges.
Drivers of higher emission larger motorhomes can pay a discounted daily charge of £10 (rather than the standard £50) to enter Sheffield’s CAZ.
A large motorhome can be defined as a rigid vehicle of more than 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) and is determined by the DVLA to have the body type of a “motorcaravan”.
Once registered with the Council, they must pay for each journey using the Sheffield Council Permits Portal.
When applying, drives must have a V5 certificate and photos of the front, back, sides and inside rear of the vehicle.
The Clean Air Zone in Greater Manchester was originally meant to launch in May 2022, but was shelved in February 2022.
There were concerns from many motorists in the city that they could not access CAZ-compliant vehicles in time before charging started.
The council is still working with the Government to decide the best course of action, although this has been slowed significantly as a result of the Prime Ministerial changes.
A public consultation on the new Clean Air Plan proposals will take place in early 2023, subject to Government feedback.
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At the time, a spokesperson for Greater Manchester Combined Authority commented on how motorcaravans would be classified.
They said: “Feedback from the 2020 Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan consultation highlighted that, due to the way motorcaravans are categorised on their V5C document, some will currently be charged to drive within the GM Clean Air Zone and some would not.
“Motorcaravans that have an N1 and N2 classification, or are blank under vehicle category on the VC5 document, are currently included in the charging scheme.
“We are proposing to include M1 and M1 special purpose vehicles with a body type of motorcaravan in the charging scheme as well.
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“The updated proposals aim to ensure that all motorcaravans and campervans, that may look similar and have similar emissions, are treated equally, regardless of administrative vehicle categories.
“There is still time for people to have their say on the proposals, and we would urge campervan and motorcaravan owners to find out more at cleanairgm.com/consultation.”
There would have been a daily charge of £10 for N1 vehicles, which are under 3.5 tonnes, and £60 for N2 vehicles, which are over this weight.
The N1 vehicles were eligible for the van temporary exemption, which would have been until May 2023, although it is uncertain whether these exemptions will apply when the CAZ is finally launched.
Manchester would have been the largest CAZ in England, including: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the cities of Manchester and Salford.
Most Clean Air Zones and Low Emissions Zones apply to specific built-up residential areas which see the majority of emissions. Because most caravan and motorhome owners are using them to escape to the countryside, they can be avoided by planning any routes beforehand.
With more cities adopting emissions-based charging zones, drivers are being given more frequent warnings informing them that they may need to pay to use their leisure vehicle. People often take larger vehicles to tow their caravan, which could lead to expensive charges, especially when travelling to popular caravan sites or when driving through larger cities.
Bristol launched its Clean Air Zone in November 28, with the Caravan Club warning motorists that the popular Baltic Wharf Club Campsite is included in the zone and will result in more polluting vehicles being charged.
Similarly, any leisure vehicle owners travelling to the Isle of Wight are told to check Portsmouth City Council website to check if they will be charged.
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