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Leeds Council signs Siemens for anti-pollution vehicle monitoring


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Leeds City Council has awarded a contract to Siemens Mobility to design, implement and operate a clean air zone (CAZ) monitoring and enforcement solution for the city.

It will involve the deployment of Sicore II automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras at more than 100 junctions, with two more fixed to vehicles for mobile enforcement.

The cameras will be used to identify and register every vehicle that enters the city’s charging zone and match them against the Government’s planned database of the more heavily polluting vehicles such as taxis, coaches, private hire and heavy goods vehicles. They will then be subject to a charge aimed at discouraging them from entering the area.

Private cars, vans and motorcycles will not be charged.

Siemens said that all the money raised will only be used to cover the operating costs and for other schemes to improve air quality.

Timely introduction

Councilor James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources and sustainability, said: “Having received government approval for the clean air charging zone last month the council is working hard to ensure the successful and timely introduction of the scheme.

“Being able to identify and charge non-compliant vehicles driving within the zone’s boundary is essential to encouraging businesses to switch to less polluting vehicles.”

Wilke Reints, managing director of Siemens Mobility’s Intelligent Traffic Systems in the UK, said the scheme could potentially also provide the highways team with data to support traffic management and policy making.

“Once the air quality targets have been met, our multi-purpose Sicore cameras may be redeployed elsewhere, increasing value sustainably over the entire lifecycle,” he added.

The plan marks Leeds’ response to the Government’s plan for the creation of a database of taxis and private hire vehicles in England and Wales to be updated by the local authorities responsible for their licensing.

In January the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Transport published the response to a consultation that emphasised that some councils may wish to distinguish between taxis and private cars in any charging schemes they apply.

The Greater London Authority is planning to introduce an Ultra Low Emission Zone from next month that will apply to private vehicles that fail to meet exhaust emission standards. It will operate inside the existing congestion zone and involve charges for any vehicles affected.

Image by philld CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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