RHA attacks Clean Air Zone work as Bradford goes live

Bradford Clean Air Zone goes live

The Clean Air Zone (CAZ) mechanism in England is “outdated” and it targets “the wrong vehicles,” RHA Managing Director Richard Smith claimed as the delayed Bradford CAZ went live on 26 September. It brings with it a £50 daily charge for most non-Euro VI coaches and buses. 

In comments on the trade body’s online news resource, Mr Smith says that introduction of the Bradford CAZ is “disappointing” in view of major changes to Manchester’s CAZ plans that look set to involve no charges for non-compliance and the abandonment of work towards a CAZ in nearby Leeds. 

He adds that emissions from coaches and HGVs have fallen significantly since 2013 and that RHA will continue to lobby the government “for better ways to achieve the clean air we all want.” Targeting the oldest and most polluting vehicles in all classes via policy measures is the trade body’s favoured approach. That could lead into subsequent decarbonisation work, it says. 

Bradford’s CAZ had first been expected to go live in October 2021 but it has suffered multiple postponements. Some exemptions are in place, which will run until the end of 2025. They may only be applied to fleet members purchased before 26 September, however.

Exemptions can apply to vehicles used for home-to-school services and in limited number to those owned by local SMEs, along with some used under a section 19 or section 22 permit. Further details are on the Breathe Better Bradford website. 

Cars are exempted from the Bradford Clean Air Zone. Leader of City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (CBMDC), Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, claims that the CAZ has “been designed very carefully” in that respect. “What we have to stop is polluting commercial vehicles from outside the district using Bradford as a de facto motorway, coming through the district but not stopping to do business here,” she adds. 

Over 370 buses in the Bradford district meet Euro VI standards either via OEM fitment or thanks to exhaust retrofit, CBMDC says. Revenue raised from daily charges for non-compliance could be reinvested in areas such as zero-emission bus procurement and assistance for local businesses to upgrade non-compliant vehicles, it adds.