For immediate release: Tuesday 18 June 2019
Leeds and Birmingham were due to have Clean Air Zones in force by January 2020 but today the councils have announced that these will need to be postponed. This is because they were expecting a vehicle checker tool to help them assess which polluting vehicles would need to pay a charge in October. The tool, which is being delivered by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), will not be available until ‘at least’ December 2019.
Responding to the news, Joe Farrington-Douglas, Head of Policy at Asthma UK, says:
“It is utterly unacceptable that people in Leeds will continue to breathe in toxic air. Air pollution is a major health hazard, especially to the 50,000 people in Leeds who have asthma*, as it can trigger life-threatening asthma attacks. With evidence showing air pollution has contributed to hospitalisations and even deaths, delays in cleaning up our air could have dire consequences.
“The introduction of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London has been a step in the right direction to tackle filthy air but it is high time that local and national government protect those outside the capital through similar schemes.”
Notes to editors:
*50,386 in Leeds CCG are treated for asthma, QOF data