Derby and Nottingham to reject clean air zones
Both Derby and Nottingham have turned their backs on plans to set up clean air zones (CAZ), insisting they can cut their cities’ emissions through other means.
Nottingham’s and Derby’s Clean Air Strategy plans, which have gone before government ministers for approval this month, reject the option to set up CAZs.
The two cities are part of a group of five, including Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton, tasked by DEFRA with reducing levels of nitrogen dioxide by 2020 to meet EU standards. They had been directed to consider the creation of CAZs to achieve this.
Unlike Leeds’ and Birmingham’s CAZs, which will set daily charges of £50 and between £50 and £100 respectively on all non-Euro-6 trucks, Nottingham has rejected any plans for a CAZ.
Instead the city is proposing to drive down emissions through retrofitting its buses to Euro-6 standards and by requiring taxis to improve their emission standards. The council will also replace its HGVs with electric vehicles.
However the city has flagged up plans to extend the city centre Clear Zone to include minimum emissions criteria for delivery lorries, taxis and other vehicles, at some point in the future. Currently, the Clear Zone restricts vehicle access to seven streets between 10am and 4.30pm to permit holders only.
Derby’s Clean Air Strategy plan opts for a car scrappage scheme, backed by grants, to encourage residents to move to ULEV or to lower emission cars. The city has also set out plans to improve traffic flow on the inner city ring road and launch initiatives to help businesses move to low emission vehicles.
Nottingham councillor Sally Longford said: “Although we considered a Class B clean air zone – which would have affected HGVs, buses and taxis – the actions we’re taking will have a positive impact across the whole city, rather than just in one area.
She added that the measures being taken by Nottingham city council “were enough to meet the targets set by the government and, enough that it is no longer necessary to introduce a clean air zone”.
The council also called on the government to play its part by introducing measures including a national vehicle renewal scheme and funding for the electrification of Midland Mainline to cut the number of diesel trains entering the city.
Derby councillor Asaf Afzal said the council had rejected a charging scheme option because it did not believe it would achieve compliance. He added: “The council has no intention of implementing measures that simply introduce additional costs for residents and businesses, whilst not achieving the necessary air quality improvements.
“We firmly believe that a targeted scrappage scheme for Derby is right for the whole community."
Southampton City Council has confirmed it will charge non-Euro-6 trucks entering its CAZ but has yet to set charge levels.
See Commercial Motor (20 September) for our look at the challenges facing Leeds as it works to introduce its charging CAZ, as well as the impact hauliers and local businesses fear it will have. Subscribe now and get five issues of Commercial Motor for £5.
- Hauliers affected by Birmingham’s CAZ plans should come along to a free half-day roadshow to find out more and help prepare their fleets. Along with other major cities, the council is consulting on a charging zone for older vehicles, meaning only Euro-6 standard trucks will be able to enter for free once a CAZ is in place. CM’s sister title Motor Transport is working with Birmingham City Council to bring you a dedicated roadshow, giving you the chance to interact directly with senior air quality officials. It takes place on the morning of 11 October at Aston Villa FC, Birmingham and will also feature workshops about the city’s new refuelling centre, vehicle hire and a range of alternative fuels. Places are free, but you will need to register.
Cigarette smugglers receive prison sentences
Three men have been sent to prison after they were caught with more than 1.5 million illegal cigarettes disguised as road surfacing material at a South Shields warehouse.
Yiannakis Theodorou, of Halford Close, Attleborough, Norfolk, Danut Nastasescu and Stanel Oprisan, both of Romania, were found hiding inside the unit on Middlefields Industrial Estate when HMRC officers uncovered the illegal haul, worth £526,397 in unpaid duty. Officers searched the premises on Throckley Way in March and discovered 24 pallets loaded with packages containing 1,508,300 non-UK duty-paid cigarettes.
The cigarettes were hidden in wooden containers coated in bitumen, often used for road surfaces, and wrapped in packaging. The three men were found hiding at the back of the unit and were arrested.
Investigations revealed Theodorou arranged the import and distribution of the cigarettes and he was found hiding between trucks parked inside the unit when HMRC searched the premises. Nastasescu and Oprisan travelled from Romania to unpack the illegal goods.
The men admitted excise fraud during a trial hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on 20 August. Theodorou was sentenced to three years, and Nastasescu and Oprisan to 15 months in prison.
Alison Chipperton, assistant director, fraud investigation service, at HMRC, said: “This was a shocking attempt to flood the streets with illicit cigarettes and con taxpayers out of money that should be used to fund our vital public services. The trio thought they could hide and wouldn’t get caught, but they were wrong.”