Tyne & Wear

Tyneside clean air tolls plan: No decision until autumn

Tyne Bridge Image copyright NCJ Media
Image caption Ministers have ordered councils to reduce dangerous emissions levels by 2021

A decision on plans to introduce clean air tolls on some Tyneside roads will not be made until the autumn.

More than 19,000 people completed a council survey on proposals which could see the most polluting vehicles pay £50 a day to enter parts of Newcastle.

Ministers have told Newcastle, North Tyneside and Gateshead councils to produce a plan to cut dangerous road pollution levels by 12 July.

The councils said it would take "several months" to reach a decision.

Two options were put to the public:

  • A Clear Air Zone (CAZ) in which cars and taxis that fail to meet minimum emissions standards would pay £12.50 a day to enter, with the most polluting buses and lorries paying £50 a day
  • Tolls of up to £3.40 on the three major road bridges across the River Tyne, known as the Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Buses and HGVs which meet the council's emission standards will pay nothing
Image copyright Newcastle City Council
Image caption Plans would see either a Clean Air Zone or Low Emission Zone in Newcastle City Centre

The government has warned the authorities they could face legal action if a plan to cut dangerous vehicle emissions is not produced quickly so it can be implemented by January 2021.

A spokesperson for the three councils said: "The feedback we received during the recent consultation exercise, which attracted a record number of responses, is now being independently analysed.

"Following this, we will then need time to look at the independent consultation report, together with the modelling data we have gathered, in order to reach a decision on the final proposals.

"We expect this to be finalised during the autumn."

A Defra spokesman said the councils were legally obliged to comply with emissions standards as soon as possible.

Bus firms and taxi operators have already opposed the plans, claiming they will lead to increased fares and some bus routes being axed.

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