Newcastle City Councillors have approved plans to create a ‘Clean Air Zone.’
The zone is designed to combat climate change by cutting emissions and charging some vehicles crossing the Tyne Bridge.
After previous public backlash about imposing clean air charges on all commuters, Newcastle Council revisited its plans and will no longer charge everyday commuters. It has been announced that coaches, buses and HGVs will be charged £50 to enter the city, and taxis and vans will have to pay £12.50.
Nick Hartley of the Green Party in Newcastle said that: “air pollution is a symptom of climate change” and criticized Newcastle City Council for watering down their initial plans.
These charges come after increasing pressure from the Government to cut emission levels to combat climate change.
The previous plan was to charge everyday commuters £3.40 to enter the city.
Thousands of complaints forced the Council to revisit its decision on how to create a Clean Air Zone and comply with the Government’s initiative:
“We now have a plan that will place fees on buses leading to more expensive travel for the public transport commuter” he said.
“We should be making it cheaper, easier and safer to use public transport.”
SR news tried to get in contact with Councillor Arlene Ainsley, the Cabinet Minister for Transport and Clean Air, but she was unable to respond.
A spokesperson for Friends of the Earth said that there are: “thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year because of dangerously toxic air. Tough action is needed to end this health crisis. The most polluted places must go hand in hand with measures to help get people out of their cars, such as cheap and convenient public transport and safer cycling facilities.”
These charges are amid from a larger government initiative to combat climate change as the government has recently announced that it wants to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2035. This follows the government’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2050.