Newcastle City Council has taken steps towards the implementation of a clean air zone (CAZ) across the city centre.
It has awarded a contract to Yunex Traffic to design a CAZ monitoring and enforcement solution and outlined plans for a £23 million fund to support vehicle owners affected by the scheme’s charges.
Yunex Traffic will provide 36 Sicore II automatic number plate recognition cameras to be installed at 29 permanent locations around the city centre, and work with Newcastle and Gateshead Councils and the Department for Transport’s joint air quality unit on the development of a system to support the scheme.
The cameras will register every vehicle that enters the zone, 24 hours per day, capturing registration numbers. The system will be interfaced with the Government CAZ database to check whether a vehicle is among those subject to the £12.50 per day charge for entering the zone – notably high polluting buses, coaches, taxis and goods vehicles.
The CAZ is scheduled to go into operation in July 2022.
Councillor Nick Forbes and Councillor Mark Gannon, leaders of the two councils, said in a joint statement: “The clean air zone that we are putting in place to reduce the numbers of high polluting vehicles on our roads is one of a number of steps we are taking to improve our air quality and protect people’s health.”
Newcastle said its funding package will help affected drivers upgrade to cleaner vehicles that comply with the emissions standards. Some classes of vehicles, such as those used for community transport and wheelchair accessible taxis, have been given a two-year exemption.
Image from Newcastle City Council