The Council will decide on the Clean Air Zone at the Cooperative Executive meeting on 26 October 2021.

Air pollution contributes to 500 deaths a year in Sheffield. The harm done includes lung cancer and cardiovascular disease and stroke.

The biggest cause of pollution is transport, especially diesel vehicles. Sheffield has been in breach of the legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO₂) levels since January 2010.

What we plan to do

We need to bring NO2 emissions within legal limits in the shortest possible time. We have considered a range of options to reduce pollution and our preferred solution is to introduce a ‘category C’ Clean Air Zone.

Buses, taxis, vans and lorries that do not meet our emissions standards will have to pay to drive in and around the zone. Charges will start in late 2022. 

What the charges are and who will have to pay

In a Category C Clean Air Zone, charges apply to vehicles that do not meet these standards:

  • taxis (Hackney Carriages and Private Hire) which are Euro 6 Diesel or Euro 4 Petrol
  • LGVs (vans, campervans and pickup trucks) and Minibuses which Euro 6 Diesel or Euro 4 Petrol
  • buses and coaches with Euro 6 Diesel
  • HGVs with Euro 6 Diesel

These vehicles are classed as ‘Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles’ will be exempt from the charge.

Vehicles that do not meet these standards would be charged:

  • £10 per day for LGVs and Taxis
  • £50 per day for coaches, buses and HGVs

We are not charging private cars

We are not planning to charge private cars entering the city centre. Private cars make up 80% of road traffic but only 50% of the pollution.

Buses, HGVs and taxis are responsible for half of our air pollution but only make up 20% of traffic. By focussing on them we can reduce air pollution as quickly as possible.

Where the zone will be

The Clean Air Zone will cover the inner ring road and the city centre, including Park Square and the A61 / Parkway junction. You can also view the zone on our map

Why we have chosen a Clean Air Zone

The charge will encourage those who regularly drive into the zone to upgrade to a cleaner vehicle, they will have the biggest incentive to reduce their pollution.

The impact of the zone will be much broader than the city centre. Cleaner vehicles mean reduced emissions across the city, not just within the Clean Air Zone.

We are not aiming to make money from the zone. Funds from the charge will go towards the upkeep of the zone and reducing air pollution in the city.

The annual cost of air pollution to the UK is £20 billion and 40,000 lives. Reducing the damage from air pollution saves money by saving lives.

Support for vehicles to reduce emissions

The government have awarded us £20 million to help people upgrade their vehicle to one compliant with the zone.

The support on offer includes:

  • Hackney Carriages: up to £10,000 grant or interest-free loan to upgrade to a wheelchair accessible vehicle
  • Private Hire Vehicles: up to £3,000 grant or interest-free loan
  • local businesses who operate vans: £3,500 grant or interest-free loan
  • businesses or drivers of heavy goods vehicles: up to £16,000 grant
  • local bus and coach operators: up to £16,000 grant

More information on who is eligible for this support will be made available in the upcoming consultation. To be kept informed about the support, sign up to our newsletter here.

How we decided on these plans

We considered different ways to improve air quality in the shortest possible time. This includes non-charging options.

We have used a comprehensive computer model to understand how these options are likely to affect traffic and air quality. The model uses real-world data from current traffic in the region. It also includes predictions about vehicles getting cleaner over time and the increase in the numbers of vehicles.

The modelling we have used shows that a Category C charging zone will bring air pollution down in the shortest possible time. The evidence for this is available in the Outline Business Case published in 2018. Further modelling done after the review continues to show that a Category C zone reduces pollution in the shortest possible time. Following the consultation, the standard for taxis has been reduced to Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol. This brings the standard in line with the other vehicle classes.

The Full Business Case will include the information relating to the modelling from the review. This will be published before submission to the government in early 2022.

Supporting evidence and research