The lead-in period for Bradford’s clean air zone (CAZ) has been extended and will now launch in spring 2022 instead of in January.
According to Bradford Council, this will allow businesses more time to use its Clean Air Funding and upgrade their vehicles. This includes a new £1.7m fund to increase EV grants available for taxis.
It will also provide more time for council systems to integrate with the UK government’s national IT infrastructure that manages all CAZs across the country.
The council said it will make an announcement early in the New Year with the confirmed go-live date.
The government has instructed Bradford to introduce a CAZ to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels and improve air quality across the district as quickly as possible.
The Class C CAZ set to be introduced will likely affect commercial vehicles, including buses, coaches, lorries, vans and taxis, but not passenger cars.
Preparations for the zone are currently underway with over 16km of new digital ducting introduced and all perimeter enforcement cameras installed and ready to go live.
Bradford Council has provided funding to ensure that all buses accessing the CAZ will be compliant, with further plans to introduce electric buses in the district.
A further £7.4m of funding has been provided that will see heavy goods vehicles registered in the district being upgraded to CAZ standard. Funding has also seen 60% of the district’s licensed taxis upgraded to CAZ standard.
A £10.4m Clean Air Van & Minibus Fund is currently live on the Breathe Better Bradford website, providing grants of up to £4,500 to upgrade vehicles in the district to the correct standard.
Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, said: “The government has directed that Bradford district should have a CAZ and subsequently the council has administered millions of pounds worth of grants to businesses to support them with the transition.
“The council has had a lot of positive feedback from businesses who are being helped to upgrade their vehicles.
“However, there is a national shortage of compliant vans and lorries, with many companies reporting delays into next year for the delivery of their new vehicles.
“We have also taken into account the potential impact that new Covid restrictions could have on businesses as they adapt to the CAZ. This extended lead in period to the implementation of the CAZ will therefore assist businesses in making preparations.
“The council is providing the most extensive exemptions programme of any CAZ authority, with businesses and residents allowed to exempt certain vehicles.
“This is possible because around 85% of commercial vehicles that are expected to enter the CAZ will be from outside the district. The Bradford Clean Air Exemptions Programme will be launched early in the new year.