Leeds takes wider action on air quality under new strategy
Leeds City Council has unveiled a new air quality strategy that will drive down air pollution across the city, eliminating the need for the remaining Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).
The council has already managed to avoid a legal requirement to deploy a Clean Air Zone through a citywide switch to cleaner vehicles that has brought pollution on key routes to significantly below legal limits.
As a result, the council abandoned its planned ‘Class B’ CAZ in late 2020.
However, Leeds City Council said that continuing to reduce air pollution levels could save even more lives and its proposed new air quality strategy – which will be discussed by senior councillors next week – will look to set stricter targets than national standards to meet the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for air pollution. It will also aim to tackle emissions from homes, industry and agriculture as well as transport.
Measures related to transport include electric bin lorries, a continued EV trial scheme for business, a public bike sharing scheme and promotion of pollution-free and active ways to travel.
But enhanced enforcement of industrial emissions, citywide engagement and planning policies requiring greener and better ventilated buildings would also be introduced as part of the strategy.
Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for air quality, said: “Leeds’ air quality has improved significantly in recent years, thanks to a truly citywide effort, and our city has come a long way since 2015.
“By setting tough – but necessary – targets to meet the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for air pollution, our new strategy is one of the most ambitious and wide-ranging of any local authority.
“Having already beaten the national targets for air quality, this strategy means Leeds is going further and faster than government to tackle pollution and protect the health of everyone in Leeds.”