Clean Air Zone daily charges placing ‘enormous’ strain on drivers

Motorists have experienced the launch a number of new Clean Air Zones, which can be a large burden, with many calling for additional help. Experts have said that drivers, particularly tradespeople, are dealing with an “enormous” strain, and must not be forgotten.

Two Clean Air Zones have already launched this year, with charging beginning in Tyneside (Gateshead and Newcastle), while Sheffield launched its zone at the end of February.

Daren Jasper, head of commercial vehicles at Select Car Leasing, says Clean Air Zones are the right choice and a step in the right direction when it comes to greener motoring and better living.

He argues: “We’re seeing the introduction of more and more Clean Air Zones across the country, with a scheme for Greater Manchester also currently under review. 

“These zones are, of course, integral when it comes to reducing air pollution and improving air quality in our most populated regions. 

“It’s a way of life all motorists must prepare for in the future,” Mr Jasper said.

He highlighted how the impact on tradespeople will be huge and must be addressed when discussing the rollout of Clean Air Zones.

Tradespeople have to access cities every day of the week and rely heavily on their vehicles to carry equipment and goods.

He stated that without these tradespeople, the economy would grind to a halt.

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With more cities introducing Clean Air Zones and various other environmental schemes, tradespeople will often be the most likely to receive fines.

Mr Jasper said the Government should be doing all it can to continue to support them in the roles they are fulfilling.

In June last year, the Department for Transport announced it would be supporting the uptake of electric vehicles for tradespeople through the grant scheme.

Around £300million was allocated to the scheme, where people could receive up to £5,000 off the cost of a large van.

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Those grants also work to lower the cost of leasing an electric van, further bolstering the incentives for tradespeople to invest in electric.

In the vast majority of cases, this reduction in cost is already built-in to any “on the road” price with the finance companies in order to keep the lease payments lower.

Daren Jasper added: “What’s concerning are reports that there’s currently a shortage of affordable used vans that comply with the Euro emissions for sale in the UK. 

“And it’s here where leasing a vehicle might be an option for many businesses looking to avoid the CAZ charges in Sheffield, or in other cities that operate a clean air zone. 

“We should also be urging tradespeople to consider switching to zero emission electric vehicles. 

“And it’s my view we need better awareness about just how cost-effective an EV light commercial vehicle can be for many people.”

For the most recently launched Clean Air Zone, Sheffield charges any non-compliant and non-private vehicle to drive in the city.

Polluting vans, LGVs and taxis will be charged £10 per day, while non-compliant coaches, buses, lorries and HGVs will see a £50 charge.

Due to the cost of living crisis, all local light-good vehicles and hackney carriage taxis will be exempt until June 5, 2023.

Mr Jasper concluded, saying: “The range between charges for electric vans is also improving all the time, making these vehicles a viable option for more and more businesses. 

“As clean air zones become more ubiquitous, we anticipate a sharp rise in firms switching to EV fleets – and we’d urge businesses to explore what’s on offer.”

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