Today, Newcastle and Gateshead are taking a crucial step towards cleaner air by implementing Clean Air Zone charges for older, more polluting vans and light goods vehicles. This charging scheme aims to reduce air pollution and improve the quality of air in the region.
Starting today, charges will apply exclusively to vans that do not meet national emissions standards. However, there is good news for vehicle owners in the process of applying for a grant to upgrade their vans – they will receive temporary exemption from the charges.
To ensure all affected van and light goods vehicle owners are well-informed, Early Notice Letters have been sent out starting from May 22nd. These letters serve to raise awareness about the upcoming charges and are being sent by DVLA to van owners with non-compliant vehicles that were identified during a recent monitoring period while entering the Clean Air Zone (CAZ).
It is essential to note that the CAZ charges, which were launched on January 30th, initially targeted non-compliant taxis, buses, coaches, and HGVs. However, private cars remain unaffected and do not have to pay CAZ charges.
As of today, non-compliant vans entering the CAZ will face a daily charge of £12.50. It’s worth mentioning though that the charges were initially delayed due to national supply issues, which made it difficult to source replacement vehicles.
Cllr Jane Byrne, the cabinet member for a connected, clean city at Newcastle City Council, emphasized the significance of the Clean Air Zone in combating air pollution and safeguarding people’s health by reducing the number of older, more polluting vehicles on the roads. While many drivers and business owners are already familiar with the Clean Air Zone, this marks the first time non-compliant vans and light goods vehicles will be subject to charges. Cllr Byrne urged affected individuals to check whether they will be impacted by the new regulations, find out about available support, and ensure they understand the payment process if required.
To determine if they are required to pay the CAZ charges, vehicle owners can use the national online vehicle checker available at www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones. Covering most of Newcastle city centre, including routes over the Tyne, Swing, High Level, and Redheugh bridges, a detailed map of the boundary can be accessed at www.breathe-cleanair.com/map.
It is important to note that drivers who owe a CAZ charge will not receive a notification. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals to take responsibility for checking whether they need to pay and ensuring payment is made within six days after traveling into the zone. Guidance on how to pay a CAZ charge can be found at www.breathe-cleanair.com/how-to-pay.
To support vehicle owners in upgrading their non-compliant vans or light goods vehicles, grants of up to £4,500 are available. Full details, including eligibility criteria and the application process, can be found at www.breathe-cleanair.com/grants. Those currently in the process of applying for funding will be temporarily exempt from paying any CAZ charges until their application is completed.
In specific circumstances, temporary exemptions may also be applied, especially for businesses located within the Clean Air Zone. Complete information about exemptions and the application process can be found at www.breathe-cleanair.com/exemptions.
The implementation of the Clean Air Zone is in response to a legal order from the government, demanding action to address illegal pollution levels in certain areas within Newcastle and Gateshead. For comprehensive details about the Clean Air Zone, please visit the Breathe website at www.breathe-cleanair.com. Let’s work together to breathe cleaner air and protect our environment.