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      Trade concerns over the introduction of the Sheffield Clean Air Zone

      ByMonelo Gabriel

      Feb 14, 2023


      Alan Martin says the council’s support is “nowhere close” to covering the cost of upgrading three of his trucks

      Small businesses say a clean air zone in Sheffield is “insane” and that it is “impossible” to access council support to upgrade vehicles and avoid charges.

      The scheme starts on February 27 and vehicles that do not meet Euro pollution standards will be charged £10 per day.

      Sheffield City Council said grants were available to buy cleaner vehicles and exemptions could also be applied for.

      But Alan Martin, who runs a furniture business, called the plan “crazy”.

      He said the £5,000 grant that was offered was “nowhere near” to covering the cost of upgrading three of his vans, which could cost £50,000 each.

      “I agree that pollution is a problem,” said Martin, whose family has owned the business since 1974. “But making poorer people pay, fining them for having older vehicles…is not the way to go. “.

      He said he was worried about the future of his company, saying that it “almost makes you wonder if there’s no point in working outside of Sheffield.”

      image source, Sheffield Town Hall


      The clean air zone boundary will cover Sheffield city center

      The council said the scheme was being introduced following a legal directive from the government to bring nitrogen dioxide emissions within legal limits in the shortest possible time.

      He said air pollution contributed to 500 deaths a year in Sheffield and could cause various health problems.

      “Living next to a busy street carries the same risk as passive smoking 10 cigarettes a day,” he added.

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      Commercial vehicle owners can apply for waivers of the charge until June 5 and the council is also offering grants of up to £16,000 towards the cost of replacing polluting trucks and vans.

      Jez Daughtry, who runs a honey company, said she understood the council had been ordered to implement the measures and had bought a £12,000 second-hand van to comply with the regulations, but was finding it “impossible” to access authority support schemes.

      “I’m sick of all this,” he said. “I can’t get in touch with anyone to help determine how to apply for this now.”

      Dr Sam Chapman, from the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said a number of businesses had raised concerns about the notice they had been given and called for a clearer grant application process.

      He called the offer of partial help to cover the cost of replacing vehicles “problematic” but said the changes were necessary to reduce “high-polluting vehicles on our streets.”

      “There are some concerns from companies in terms of whether they can get them in time, how will this actually work for them,” he added.

      “There are individual businesses that are unfortunately more affected than others by this transition.”

      Mazher Iqbal, co-chair of the council’s transport committee, said: “We stand in solidarity with those affected and acknowledge their concerns.

      “The package we got from the government includes financial support to upgrade or replace vehicles to meet Class C loading zone restrictions and the opportunity to apply for a waiver, if eligible.

      “It is crucial that those who think they may be affected check to see if their vehicle qualifies on the online vehicle checker. If so, we urge you to get in touch and see if financial support is available to upgrade or replace your vehicle. “. .”


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