Plans for Leicester Clean Air Zone scrapped after air quality improves

Leicester CAZ proposals scrapped
Photo credit: Daveleicuk

Proposals for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Leicester affecting buses and taxis have been scrapped, after the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) told Leicester City Council that such a scheme was no longer necessary.

Annual figures collected from air quality monitoring stations in 2020 show that Leicester now meets current EU air quality objectives. Leicester City Council says that levels of NO2 have been reduced by approximately 60% since 2010.

The council has been awarded £820,000 of government funding to promote alternative modes of transport in the next two years.

It comes after the council successfully bid for £19m from the government’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme towards the introduction of 96 new electric buses 21 routes in the city. It will contribute £2.2m and work in partnership with First and Arriva, which will also fund £15.7m and £10.1m respectively.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, says: “The dramatic improvement in air quality is good news for the city and we’re proud to be recognised for the huge efforts we and our partners have put into achieving this.

“However, we know there is still more to be done and we are doubling down on efforts to remain below EU limits and continue the huge improvements we have seen in recent years.

“We are developing very ambitious plans to promote travel by bus, bicycle and walking that will help make substantial further improvements to the city’s air quality. These include our new Local Transport Plan and Workplace Parking Levy proposals, and our new Bus Service Improvement Plan that was recently submitted to government.

“We have also just announced massive investment to increase the city’s electric bus fleet by almost 100 vehicles, as part of ambitious plans to upgrade half of Leicester’s buses fleet to electric by 2025.

“It is vital that we continue to encourage people to make the shift to sustainable transport to help ensure that we make lasting improvements to air quality and achieve our aim of healthier air for Leicester. It is also a key change we can all make in doing our bit to tackle the climate emergency.”