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Clean Air Zone Delay In Birmingham And Leeds

Clean Air Zone Delay In Birmingham And Leeds

By now, we assume readers will be very familiar with the term CAZ. The acronym for a Clean Air Zone. It applies to the ongoing push to clean up the air in UK cities by imposing strict emission charges. London is leading the way with its extensive ULEZ zone phase-one of which launched in April of this year. London’s scheme builds on years of congestion charging for which there is already an extensive infrastructure in place.

When looked at from afar Clean Air Zones make sense. Air quality in our towns and cities is becoming dangerous. Emissions are on the increase, and the impacts on residents’ health are already becoming apparent. Little wonder that cities like Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester is following London’s example and developing CAZ schemes of their own. In theory at least.

Second Thoughts

The issue with CAZs is they are complicated and costly to implement. Unlike London, cities like Leeds and Birmingham don’t have the base infrastructure from which to build their Clean Air Zone regimes. And it seems this penny has dropped in the case of Leeds and Birmingham. Maybe that’s why they have decided to delay the implementation of their plans until the implications are better understood.

The underlying thought is that it would be morally irresponsible to impose ill-conceived Clean Air Zone schemes that cause untold chaos to businesses and delivery firms.

Chris Snelling Head of UK Policy at the FTA summarised this situation well when he said:

“Whether you support CAZs or not, we can all agree that regulations must have the systems in place to make them work. Leeds and Birmingham have done the right thing. Indeed they are taking the only course of action available to them. The government needs to develop these systems ASAP and demonstrate they are reliable and accurate – only then should Councils definitively commit to start dates for any Clean Air Zones.”

Bad For Business

Within this decision is an acknowledgement of the detrimental effects that CAZ scheme could have on Leeds and Birmingham businesses and the delivery sector. While cities like Manchester are doing a public consultation of their proposed system, it’s unlikely any Clean Air Zone scheme will have a neutral effect.

Until these impacts are understood fully, the implementation of any CAZ scheme represents a risk to the sometimes-fragile retail economies of UK cities. Leeds and Birmingham’s decision to delay is an all-too-rare example of common sense prevailing. Perhaps other UK cities will have a similar change of heart.

A Gap In The Market

While this change in direction for Birmingham and Leeds will come as a relief to delivery firms, it will only be a temporary reprieve. The UK has recently signed up to challenging global eco-targets, so the issue is not going away.

However, it does offer the delivery sector a chance to clean up their act in an orderly manner. There’s now a gap in which the industry can make some critical strategic investments in CAZ-friendly vehicles like Truckcraft’s TRAILAR-enabled van range. Depending on how long these plans are delayed, it could mean when they do come to fruition, delivery firms will have a CAZ-friendly fleet and will not have to make some knee-jerk business decisions.

Better still, the delivery sector can then have a clear conscience safe in the knowledge it’s making a clear contribution to cleaner air in the UK’s towns and cities.

For more information on our clean-air-zone-friendly delivery trucks and vans, please contact the Truckcraft Bodies sales team on 0161 304 9404. Alternatively, email or

Published: Jul 17

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