A Woodseats gardener says his business could be in jeopardy thanks to Sheffield’s new Clean Air Zone which may add £1,000 to his bills every year.
Sheffield City Council had been delaying the launch of the zone since 2021 but it will now be launched on February 27.
The Clean Air Zone will mean an area within the city centre and inner ring road where some polluting lorries, vans, buses and taxis are charged fees.
For vans and taxis, the charge is £10 per day, whilst for coaches, buses and lorries the charge is £50 per day. There are national and local exemptions that you can apply for driving in the zone, and if your business is based in Sheffield or Rotherham, you can get a temporary exemption until 5 June.
However, many locals have voiced their concerns. Over the past year, campaigns against the clean air zones have gained traction, with 6,000 members joining the main campaign’s Facebook group.
Nick Hamilton, 50, a gardener from Woodseats, agreed with many of the reasons the campaigns had been promoting.
He said: “For someone like myself, this probably adds £1,000 onto fees every year, which is incredible.
“I regularly use suppliers up in the north of Sheffield, and I wouldn’t be doing that with a Clean Air Zone. There’s businesses within the city centre that are just going to disappear because as a small business I don’t want to have to take a £10 charge going through the city centre.
“There’s not an alternative unless I go into a Euro 6 emissions category which is the £10k extra I’d have to pay to change my vehicle,” he added.
“Prices have already had to go up because of inflation anyway, the customers are already feeling that pinch from me, and I have to introduce a congestion charge alongside it, that jeopardises my business.”
However, other residents believe that the Clean Air Zone will benefit everyone in the city, and help improve the infrastructure.
Bob, 42, who works for a data-building company, but did not want to give his full name, said: “People that have to drive into the centre will have to suffer increased expenditure for the businesses but that’ll get passed onto the consumer. There are exemptions open until the middle of this year which gives people time to move to different vehicles.
“Money will be put into the infrastructure of Sheffield. It’ll go fund better cycling lanes, better bus routes and more frequent buses. I think it’s all going back into the future wellbeing of the city.”
Sheffield is the fifth most polluted city in England according to statistics, with a plan published in November 2021.
It said: “The primary goal of the proposed Clean Air Zone is to encourage and support the removal of the most polluting vehicles from the city’s roads in order to make our air cleaner and safer to breathe.”