THE leader of Leeds City Council has said the city’s planned Clean Air Charging Zone is set to be delayed again, this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures would mean drivers of non-environmentally friendly HGVs, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles would face a daily charge for using certain roads in and around Leeds City Centre.

The measures, first mooted in 2018, had an original target start date of January 2020, but was delayed until the summer, then September of the same year due to problems with a government database computer.

And, speaking today, Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said it would ‘not be appropriate’ to work on introducing the measures yet, adding that it will no longer be happening in September. Coun Blake said: “We are asking for more time – it’s not appropriate at the moment to move forward with the current timetable.

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“It’s a situation we will assess as everything unfolds – we will look at the appropriate time to step up the process.”

While she couldn’t put a date on when the scheme is set to be implemented, she added: “it’s safe to say it won’t be happening in September.”

Plans for the CAZ would see older models of buses, taxis and HGVs travelling in areas around North Leeds and the city centre pay a congestion charge. The fees would be administered via a £6m camera network which would identify number plates of cars which didn’t meet green requirements so that drivers could be charged.

It was expected to go ahead by January 2020 but, following delays from central government in creating a vehicle database, it was announced last summer the charging zone would be delayed.

Earlier this month, Leeds City Council confirmed the CAZ would go live on September 28 this year, but this was before the extent of the Coronavirus pandemic took hold in the UK.

It follows news earlier this week that Birmingham, which is due to launch a similar scheme for its roads, was expected to delay a launch of its CAZ until at least 2021.

Bradford Council is in the early stages of introducing a similar Clean Air Zone. It was due to be introduced next Autumn, although it is as yet unclear how the Coronavirus crisis will impact those plans.