15 November 2022| | 3 min read
Clean Air Zone financial support available from Monday 21 November 2022
Vehicle owners affected by the Clean Air Zone will be able to apply for financial support from next week.
Applications for vehicle upgrade grants will open from Monday 21 November along with applications for exemptions.
Private cars, motorbikes and low emissions vehicles will not be charged.
Charges to enter the CAZ will begin on 30 January 2023 for taxis, buses, coaches and HGVs that don’t comply with national emissions requirements. Charging for non-compliant vans will start in July 2023. People can check whether their vehicle will be charged at www.gov.uk/clean-air-zones.
The grant funding will be available to help replace or upgrade vehicles. All those affected, including van owners, are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
Affected drivers and vehicle owners are also being offered reassurance that they will be given a temporary exemption from charges if they are in the process of applying for funding and waiting for a new vehicle.
Newcastle and Gateshead councils have negotiated with government to ensure those affected can receive the maximum level of support and grant levels have now been agreed.
For taxi and private hire vehicles, grants of up to £3,500 – or £4,000 if the vehicle is wheelchair accessible – will be available.
Van owners will be offered up to £4,500 towards the cost of a replacement vehicle.
And grants for bus, coach and HGV upgrades have been set at £16,000.
Specialist finance providers have been appointed to distribute the grant funding. They will also be able to offer low interest, subsidised finance arrangements using the grant funding to help meet the cost of buying a replacement vehicle.
Some vehicle owners may also be able to apply for an exemption to CAZ charges, either on a temporary or a permanent basis.
People who will be able to apply for a temporary exemption of two years includes those with wheelchair accessible taxis, business owners with vehicles registered within the CAZ, and residents within the CAZ who own a taxi or van. Business owners and residents within the CAZ can apply for an exemption for up to two vehicles.
Cllr Jane Byrne, cabinet member for connected city at Newcastle City Council, said: “The Clean Air Zone is being implemented to improve our air quality, protect our health and clean up our environment.
“Even though we can’t see pollution, we know that it’s there and we know it’s harmful to people, especially those with existing health conditions and those who spend a lot of time exposed to emissions while driving and sitting in traffic.
“We encourage anyone who is eligible to take advantage of the funding and support available to upgrade their vehicle and help us clean up our air.”
Cllr John McElroy, cabinet member for the environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “Throughout this process we’ve been clear that improving air quality for the good of people’s health has been our main priority.
“We’ve also been keen to ensure that those directly affected get the maximum financial support possible to help them upgrade to a cleaner vehicle so that they can reduce their emissions and avoid having to pay CAZ charges.
“In addition to securing grant funding from government and sourcing financial providers who can offer a package of support, we have also agreed a number of local exemptions to help those with commercial vehicles, including taxis and vans, registered to addresses within the zone.”
More information on the grants and exemptions, including how to apply, will be published on the Breathe website at www.breathe-cleanair.com.