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Covid-19 throws Clean Air Zone into question: Pollution charge delayed in Leeds and Birmingham

The impact of the coronavirus lockdown has called into question the planned launch of an anti-pollution charge in Sheffield city centre.

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London's Ultra Low Emission Zone was introduced in April 2019. Photo by David Hawgood (Wikimedia Commons).

The impact of the coronavirus lockdown has called into question the planned launch of an anti-pollution charge in Sheffield city centre.

Similar schemes due to be introduced this year in Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds have now been delayed until 2021 by the government.

Sheffield's Clean Air Zone was already due to be introduced in 'early 2021', but it's unclear if this will now also be delayed.

We will continue to develop our proposals to submit to government for approval

"Birmingham's Clean Air Zone is part of an earlier phase than ours and we have not set a date when the Clean Air Zone will go live," a Sheffield City Council spokesperson told Now Then.

"We will continue to develop our proposals to submit to government for approval, which will fully consider the implications of Covid-19."

City leaders in Birmingham and Leeds had both written to the government in the last week asking for their schemes to be postponed.

Plans in Sheffield will see high polluting buses and lorries charged £50 a day to enter the city centre, but private cars will be exempt from the scheme.

High polluting taxis and vans will also be charged £10 a day to enter the zone, which will roughly correspond with the inner ring road.

Clean air plans in Bristol are more radical, with the council proposing a complete ban on privately-owned diesel vehicles entering the city centre between 7am and 3pm, seven days a week.

Sheffield Council's spokesperson said that reducing the harm from coronavirus was their "first priority", and that they were continuing to deliver critical council services and coordinate public health.

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