A charging Clean Air Zone
The legal order we have been given by government means that we have to consider a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
We have tested a number of charging CAZ options.
This section provides more information on how a charging CAZ would work as well as details of a potential CAZ option based on the results of our testing.
What is a charging Clean Air Zone?
Within a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ), drivers are required to pay a charge if their vehicle does not meet minimum emissions standards.
Charges would only apply to the most polluting vehicles and the charges would be paid per day, not per visit.
The type of vehicle that would be affected depends upon the level of the CAZ.
The level of CAZ we are considering is a class D. This would apply to all motor vehicles, including taxis, buses, lorries, vans and cars. The current proposal is to not charge motorcycles and mopeds.
Newer vehicles and those with zero emissions would not be affected.
Why are we considering a class D charging CAZ?
Government has told us that we must put in place measures that bring pollution to within legal limits as quickly as possible.
We have tested different levels of charging CAZ to try to predict the likely impact they would have on traffic and air quality.
Our tests indicate that lower levels of CAZ, which target fewer types of vehicle, would not achieve improvement quickly enough.
A class D charging CAZ, which targets all types of vehicle that are not compliant with the minimum emissions standards, is the most likely CAZ option to achieve the required improvement.
However, our tests also showed that even this highest level of charging CAZ would not be enough on its own to address the problem.
What area could a charging CAZ cover?
The government has told us we have to address, in particular, pollution levels on the Coast Road and the Central Motorway.
However, it is not enough to only introduce measures on those individual stretches of road as this risks simply moving traffic – and therefore pollution – onto neighbouring streets and residential areas.
For a CAZ to be successful it needs to cover the right area to consider the impact of re-routing traffic.
We have tested a potential area for a charging CAZ, which is shown on the map below. This area was used for testing and we are asking for people’s views on it as part of the consultation.
This area was tested as it covers the two stretches of road which the government has told us we must target along with other areas where we know there are issues with poor air quality. These include Newcastle city centre and the existing Air Quality Management Areas in Gosforth and Gateshead town centre.
What vehicles would be affected?
Only vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards would be charged.
This table provides a basic guide as to which vehicles are likely to meet minimum emissions standards based on the date of registration.
We would advise people to check their vehicle by entering their registration number at eurostandards.co.uk
How much could charges be?
We have not made any final decisions on what the level of any charges would be. However, the charges we have used as the basis for our testing are:
Heavy goods vehicles: £50 per day
Buses: £50 per day
Coaches: £50 per day
Taxis / private hire vehicles: £12.50 per day
Vans: £12.50 per day
Private cars: £12.50 per day
These charges are based on those tested by other councils that are also having to consider introducing charging Clean Air Zones.