Newcastle’s Clean Air Tolls to be delayed for 2 months

A look into what pollution will cost commuters.

Ella McCaffrey
1st November 2020
£50 tolls for high-polluting vehicles driving into Newcastle were set to be introduced in January. However, council bosses have just announced that these plans will delayed.

Under the Newcastle Clean Air Zone (CAZ) agenda, buses, coaches and lorries driving into Newcastle that do not meet environmental standards would be subject to a £50 fine. Some taxis and vans would also have a reduced toll of £12.50 when driving into the city centre.

According to Arlene Ainsley, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for air quality and transport, the CAZ delay “is partly due to the government being ill-prepared and the necessary equipment to support the implementation still is not ready”.

As of yet, no target date has been proposed for when CAZ might be introduced.

Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has also caused Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Edinburgh to push back their CAZ plans. 

However, in Newcastle the company who lost the bid to provide the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) that the CAZ would rely upon has launched a legal challenge, which has further delayed CAZ implementation.

Environmental activists have urged the council to press ahead with the CAZ, but some concerns have been raised regarding whether all residents and businesses will be able to pay the new fees.

This concern is even more significant when the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 are considered. 

From March to April a monitoring station outside of the Civic Centre reported a 59% drop in nitrogen dioxide levels, but pollution levels are creeping back up as lockdown eased over summer.

Featured Image: Unsplash

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