More information about the Clean Air Zone

Everyone deserves clean air.

The foundations of Sheffield’s future are being built today. We want the future to be cleaner and healthier for all who live in our city. Sheffield is committed to setting a higher standard for the people who live here and share Sheffield’s air. This means we need to reduce air pollution as fast as possible.

Air pollution contributes to 500 deaths a year in Sheffield. It can permanently damage children's lungs, can cause strokes, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. Living alongside a busy road carries the same risk as passively smoking 10 cigarettes a day.

Older, polluting vehicles are a major source of air pollution. We need to bring NO2 emissions within legal limits in the shortest possible time. We have considered a range of options to reduce pollution in line with our legal direction from the central government.

Following consultation, we can act to reduce this by introducing a Clean Air Zone. The Zone is part of a wider Clean Air Plan which brings improvements in air quality across Sheffield and the region.

You can find out more about our consultations and results below. If you have any further questions please contact a member of the Clean Air Zone team.

Why a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is needed

Central Governments set out the requirement to introduce Clean Air Zones (CAZ) within their CAZ Framework. Modelling shows that a CAZ is required in Sheffield to reach compliance quickly. The charge will encourage those with the oldest, most polluting vehicles who regularly drive into the zone to upgrade to a cleaner vehicle. The impact of the zone will be much broader than the city centre. Cleaner vehicles mean reduced emissions across the city, not just in 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.

How we will manage vehicles driving around the zone to avoid the charge

Our research suggests some vehicles will drive around the city centre and inner ring road to avoid charges. We do not expect this to have a significant effect on air quality in Sheffield.

Private cars (not licensed as a taxi) will not need to pay a CAZ charge and will not need to consider re-routing. For vehicles such as buses, vans lorries and coaches it will not be practical to re-route and they will continue to use the ring road and enter the city centre.

How we decided on this plan

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

We 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 on the road.

The modelling we have used shows that a Class 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 Class C zone reduces pollution in the shortest possible time. Following the consultation in winter 2021, 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 includes the information relating to the current modelling and analysis. You can download the technical modelling notes.

Supporting evidence and research

Contact the Clean Air Zone Team