Plans to take terminally ill children out on day trips may be put at risk because of delays to Sheffield’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) exemption scheme.
Sheffield transport company Rivelin Travel says a service taking terminally ill patients, including children, from Weston Park Hospital, may have to be scaled down because of delays by Sheffield City Council issuing exemptions.
The CAZ scheme, introduced by the City Council on Monday, charges smaller vehicles £10 and larger vehicles £50 for entering the CAZ which covers the inner ring road and the city centre, but private cars and motorbikes are exempt.
Residents and companies can apply for exemptions to the charges up until June, and can claim financial support to upgrade their vehicles to more more modern, cleaner models.
But there have been delays and residents who have requested support have struggled to have their applications processed by the city council.
Ky Moynihan, 42, of Hillsborough, who runs Ky’s Executive Travel and Rivelin Travel, said his experience with the CAZ has been an “absolute nightmare” .
He said: “I have been to all the council meetings and they don’t want to listen to anything. I’m not getting anywhere with them.”
Mr Moynihan says the day trips for cancer patients may be scaled back and he expects that he will now have to pass on the costs of the CAZ charge to customers.
He also criticised how certain vehicles taking pupils to school will be charged as their journeys are considered to be ‘commutes’ rather than as educational.
In an email sent to those applying for support and exemptions, the council said: “Due to a large number of applications we have not been able to deal with these as quickly as we would have liked”
The council has said anyone who applied before 27 February will not face CAZ entry charges until their application has been processed.
Sheffield City Councillor, Mazher Iqbal, said in a statement: “We are very aware of the challenges the introduction of the Clean Air Zone poses for businesses and vehicle owners and we empathise with those affected.”
Sheffield City Council have said: “Air pollution contributes to 500 deaths a year in Sheffield. Living alongside a busy road carries the same risk as passively smoking 10 cigarettes a day.”
A protest was held at Sheffield Peace Gardens on 25 February by a campaign group against the CAZ with a further demonstration expected later this month.