Hauliers fear Leeds CAZ charges may increase

Hauliers fear Leeds CAZ charges may increase

An increase in Leeds clean air zone (CAZ) charges for lorries would be disastrous and could see hauliers go out of business, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) is warning.

Leeds City Council submitted a £40 million bid to fund the CAZ scheme in October, but this has been rejected and the Environment Minister Therese Coffey has now written to the council asking it to resubmit the plans and ask for less money.

Cllr James Lewis, Executive Member for Sustainability, Leeds City Council, said: "The letter… highlights that the Government are questioning full funding of the support we identified as needed by all of the businesses and drivers in Leeds that will be affected. 

“There is also no recognition that, as no clean air charging zones have been implemented in the UK, no schemes such as interest free loans for TPH and HGV support packages have been implemented and therefore there is no evidence available on take up rates.

“The letter asks us to re-submit our bid not using our knowledge to best meet the needs of the city but to a pre-determined and lower level of funding by the end of November.” 

The council had proposed a £50 daily charge for non-Euro VI lorries to enter the zone, but the RHA is worried that a revised bid will see hauliers charged even more to make up the shortfall. 

“Any increase to these already punitive charges would be disastrous for firms delivering in Leeds,” said RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett.

“Hauliers can’t afford to be saddled with even higher operating costs at a time of huge economic uncertainty.”

Pricing out trucks could see a modal shift towards vans, leading to an increase in congestion and pollution in the city, Burnett added.