By Emily Shenton
A climate activist fears that Clean Air Zones could create an economic divide, and hinder public support towards the environmental crisis.
A Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Sheffield is set to be operational on the 27th February, covering the inner ring road and city centre.
Sally Lockwood, 53, said the Clean Air Zone initiative looks at combating air pollution in a narrow way.
She said: “In principle they are a good idea, with air pollution being linked to ill health, but I think taxing the public doesn’t give them the right environmental incentive”.
She believes councils should be investing in public transport and urging behavioural change to prevent disproportionate economic disadvantages.
She added: “People need to be encouraged to change how they travel, not the car they use to travel.
“We need to start asking why people are using cars in the city, for example do they work night shifts when there’s no public transport available”.
Mrs Lockwood, a member of Greenpeace and a green energy consultant, also highlighted that second hand cars that meet the new emission criteria are increasing in price, which will financially burden members of the public who rely on their car for their career.
She said: “The scheme will naturally create economic barriers for those who can’t afford to buy a new car or pay the daily emission charge”.
Sheffield will be a class C chargeable zone, meaning any taxis and LGVS that do not meet the Euro 6 Diesel minimum standard will be taxed a £10 daily charge.
Coaches, buses, and HGVS that do not meet the emissions standards will have a £50 daily charge.
The £24m scheme in Sheffield is set to make the council up to £700,000 a month from driver road tax.
Sheffield residents took to twitter in reaction to the council’s statement last week, expressing their overwhelmingly negative opinion on the clean air zone scheme.
MB PAT Solutions @MBPATSolutions said: “Nothing but a scam, just another tax on the working man”.
Ferney’s World @journey_cancer said: “Sadly this is the final nail in the coffin for Sheffield City centre. A money making scheme which forces vehicles to densely populated residential areas just outside the city. This will do far more damage to people and their businesses. Shameful”.
Sheffield council were contacted but no response has been received.