What help are we proposing for people and business?

This information relates to Section 1 of the questionnaire.

Feedback from the first stage of consultation showed that the majority of people agreed with measures to provide support to people to help them if charges are introduced.

We have continued to look at who would be most affected and at what measures we could put in place to provide help and support.

This section sets out the measures we would plan to introduce, subject to government funding.

What financial support is proposed?

We know that some people and businesses would need financial support to help them if charges are introduced.

Financial help would be in the form of grants for vehicle upgrades – in other words replacing older, more polluting vehicles with newer models that meet emissions standards – or retrofitting, where engines are modified to reduce the harmful emissions they produce.

  • For HGVs, buses and coaches we are proposing grants of up to £16,000 for vehicle upgrades or retrofitting.

  • For taxis (both private hire and Hackney Carriages) we are asking government to provide:

    • £2,000 support to enable drivers to upgrade to Euro 6 diesel / petrol

    • £3,500 to upgrade to Ultra Low Emission Vehicles

    • £10,000 to upgrade wheelchair accessible vehicles

  • For upgrades of vans we are proposing grants of £8,000 for a new electric van and £4,000 for a Euro 6 vehicle.

What other support is being proposed?

In addition to financial support to help people with vehicle upgrades and retrofitting, we are also proposing a number of other measures.

These include:

  • Providing support for businesses, including small businesses, to help with fleet planning and providing advice on how to move towards a zero emissions fleet.

  • A lease scheme that would enable taxi drivers to lease a vehicle from councils or other providers.

  • A grace period for certain drivers, for example those taxi and private hire drivers with wheelchair accessible vehicles, who may not face charges when measures first come into effect in order to allow longer times to transition for specialist vehicles.

  • Exemptions for certain specialist vehicles, such as military and emergency services vehicles, which would not face any charges. These include:

    • vehicles with a historic vehicle tax class;

    • certain types of non-road going vehicles that are allowed to drive on the highway such as agricultural machines, digging machines and mobile cranes;

    • Military vehicles;

    • Emergency service vehicles; and

    • Vehicles within the disabled passenger vehicle tax class.

What else are councils planning to do?

Alongside these measures we’re also looking at ways to improve our transport network so that people have greater choices in how they travel.

We want to develop a coherent and safe walking and cycling network, enabling more people to choose to travel to school, college, work and training on foot or by bike.

We also want to achieve visible improvement in our public transport networks and journey time reliability, through improved traffic signals and bus priority measures on key routes.

Our plans to transform our transport network are reliant on government support and commitment of funding.

This will be a key part of our Transforming Cities Fund bid, which will include plans for significant measures and investment in public transport, walking and cycling across our authorities.

This will be formally submitted to government by the Joint Transport Committee of the seven north east councils, working with Nexus, in November 2019.

We will also be running a major communications campaign so that people are aware of the measures and the support that will be offered.

This campaign will also seek to encourage people to change their travel behaviour and reduce the number of journeys made by car by promoting alternative options.