Plan to improving Sheffield’s air quality agreed

A major new initiative to clean up Sheffield’s air was agreed in a City Council cabinet meeting yesterday.

Tom Finnegan Smith, Head of Strategic Transport and Infrastructure, presented a detailed report aiming to improve Sheffield City’s air quality by reducing NO2 emissions.

Based on previous studies’ findings, the report’s preferred option for the city is to introduce a ‘Category C’ Clean Air Zone charging zone with additional measures (CAZ C+) within and including the inner ring road of the city centre.

The intention of proposing this CAZ C+ option is to encourage and support the removal of the most polluting vehicles from the city’s roads in the shortest possible time.

Taxis, buses, HGVs and LGVs will all be affected by this plan and will have to either modify or buy new vehicles.

Those vehicles that do not meet the meet the minimum emissions standards will be charged a daily rate if they enter or move within the charging CAZ.

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and development, said: “This is far too an important issue to stand by.”

In Sheffield there are around 857 London-style, Hackney taxis in Sheffield and around 1,900 private hire vehicles.

These taxis tend to be much older and are on average around 12 years old and around 62% of the fleet are over 10 years old.

This would mean that a large proportion of these fleets will be affected by the proposed plans.

Overall taxis comprise of around three per cent of the vehicles on Sheffield’s roads but contribute to around 4 per cent of the NO2 emissions.

The report suggests that the CAZ C+ plan will need to be in place soon to make sure the city is not in breach of legal limits in 2021.

A comprehensive statutory consultation will be held in early 2019 to understand the views of the proposals of people that live, work and visit Sheffield.