A Low Emission Zone with tolls
As well as considering a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which would charge the most polluting vehicles to enter the zone, we are also looking at other charging options that we believe would improve air quality within the timeframe set by government.
An alternative charging option could be to introduce tolls for vehicles to cross the Tyne using city centre bridges. This type of charging measure would need to be introduced alongside a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) covering Newcastle city centre.
This section provides more information on how this potential measure could work.
What is a Low Emission Zone (LEZ)?
Under a Low Emission Zone, certain vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards would be banned from entering or moving within the proposed area.
Banned vehicles which enter the Low Emission Zone would be fined.
What area could a LEZ cover?
We have tested a potential area that a LEZ could cover and this is shown on the map below.
This area is smaller than the potential charging CAZ area and is focused on Newcastle city centre.
This area was tested as it covers only Newcastle city centre and therefore would have a limited impact on residential communities outside the city centre.
What vehicles would be affected by a LEZ?
Buses, lorries and taxis that do not meet minimum emissions requirements would be banned from entering the LEZ.
This table provides a basic guide as to which vehicles are likely to meet minimum emissions standards based on the date of registration.
When would a Low Emission Zone come into effect?
A LEZ would be aimed at preventing older and more polluting buses, taxis and lorries from entering that area.
We would work with operators to seek to understand the timescales needed for them to be able to upgrade their vehicles and the introduction of a LEZ would be linked to this.
If tolls were introduced, where would they apply?
Tolls would apply on the three main city centre bridges that carry vehicles over the Tyne.
These are the Tyne, Swing and Redheugh bridges.
Which vehicles would have to pay?
The tolls would apply to all lorries, vans and cars.
Buses, taxis and ultra-low emission vehicles would not have to pay tolls.
The current proposal is to not charge motorcycles and mopeds.
How much would they be?
As with a charging Clean Air Zone, we have not made any decisions on how much any tolls would be but, as a guide, we have based our testing on the charges for vehicles using the Tyne Tunnel. These are:
Heavy goods vehicles: £3.40 per journey
Vans: £1.70 per journey
Cars: £1.70 per journey
We could look at having different levels of toll depending on the time of day.
This could mean that while all lorries, vans and cars would be charged, there might be higher charges for people travelling at peak times, when there is heavier traffic and congestion.