Call for views on air quality support measures

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Grants and interest-free loans for vehicle upgrades; financial support and improved access to public transport; and car scrappage schemes – these are just some of the measures which could be introduced to help people and organisations most affected by any measures to improve air quality.

Councils in Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside are consulting on measures for improving air quality, including possible charges for some drivers on certain routes, and are urging those who have not already taken part in the consultation to make their views known.

Thousands of people have already had their say. Four weeks after the consultation was launched more than 3,500 people have completed the questionnaire.

As part of the consultation, people are invited to give their views on proposed measures for tackling pollution and on what sort of support should be offered to those most affected.

Support measures would depend on government funding and councils can apply for national funding for these measures as part of their proposals.

Such support could include grants to help people replace or upgrade their vehicle to one that meets minimum emissions requirements. This could be for cars, taxis, vans or HGVs.

Other measures could include financial support for people on lower incomes to help them switch to public transport, allowing people sufficient time to change their vehicle or potential exemptions or reductions for some types of vehicles.

Subject to funding and the consultation responses, the support that might be offered to people could include:

  • Grants of up to £16,000 for heavy goods vehicle upgrades;
  • Interest-free loans of up to £10,000 for light goods vehicle upgrades;
  • Interest-free loans of up to £10,000 OR grants of up to £1,500 for taxi upgrades;
  • Car scrappage grants of up to £1,500;
  • £1,000 travel credits to help people within and travelling to the area to use public transport; and
  • Measures to improve walking and cycling routes, particularly focusing on routes to bus and Metro.

Councils are asking residents and businesses to take part in the consultation to provide information on what kinds of support measures they would find helpful in the event that some form of charging is introduced in order to comply with the government’s legal order.

People can take part in the consultation and find out more about what is being proposed, including possible support measures, at until 17 May 2019.

Anyone wishing to get further information or ask questions can go along to any of the drop in sessions that are being held at the City Library in Newcastle during the consultation period.

These events are taking place every Tuesday, from 12 noon until 2pm, and every Thursday, from 4pm until 6pm, until Thursday 16 May.