Independent business owner hits out against potential impact of Sheffield’s ‘clean air zone’

An independent business-owner has been left anticipating fewer customers and higher costs after Sheffield City Council’s introduction of its ‘clean air zone’.

The zone, a mandated directive from the central government, plans to tax higher polluting vehicles in an attempt to tackle pollution and reduce harmful levels of Nitrogen Dioxide.

The project will come into force on February 27th on the inner ring road and city centre.

Dane Shaw, director of Bestfit Tyres on Duke Street, located in the zone, is concerned about the negative impacts for his business.

After the business was previously affected by a similar scheme by the council, the 33-year-old said: “I just thought it was another kick in the teeth for us as a business.

“It’s not really about pollution. If it was about pollution, the council would put a ban on all vehicles.”

Dane says the scheme worsens the already negative effects of the cost of living crisis for small businesses like his, which is his only source of income. 

He believes customers will be deterred when they see that the business is in the zone, due to the lack of clarification of the rules from the council. 

According to Sheffield City Council, pollution in Sheffield is a big issue; there are around 500 deaths a year due to air pollution. Although the scheme is mandated by the government, the council supports it.

In response to complaints, Councillor Julie Grocutt said: “We understand that this scheme will affect people and businesses in a variety of ways and we have successfully pressed the Government for extra financial support in an effort to support Sheffielders.”

However, Dane said not enough financial support has been provided in relation to the removal of his waste tyres. 

The cost of purchasing a van, compliant with the zone, to carry these tyres, is around £40,000 whilst the council grant is only £1,000. 

Dane added: “The pollution won’t go down. It’s just going to put money in the pockets of the council.”

The council, however, claims that any funding gained can only be spent on running the zone and projects reducing air pollution in Sheffield. 

Written by Mia Gajree

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