An online service has gone live to help drivers and businesses find out if they will be affected by the approaching introduction of clean air zones with charges in Birmingham and Leeds.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has made the vehicle checker available as part of the initiative to charge for the use of highly polluting vehicles in the cities.
It follows the earlier introduction of a similar service for London.
Leeds City Council is bringing in a Class B clean air zone later this year, which will mean some older, polluting buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and HGVs will be charged to drive within the zone.
Birmingham City Council is bringing in a Class D charging zone, which will also come into place later this year, and will also apply to some vans and private cars.
The launch of the tool has come in later than originally expected by the two city councils, which in turn has delayed their plans for the introduction of the clean air zones. However, last year Birmingham and Leeds signed contracts with Siemens mobility for digital systems to support enforcement of the regulations.
DfT and Defra said that other local authorities, including Bath and Sheffield, are bringing in clean air zones in 2020 and 2021 and will be also responsible for introducing charges.
As well as the online vehicle checker, the Government has already provided around £60 million to Leeds and Birmingham to retrofit buses and support businesses and drivers affected by the charge.
Leeds City Council followed up the announcement with its own, encouraging vehicle owners to check whether they will be affected, and saying it has awarded more than £3.7 million to local businesses to help them switch to less polluting vehicles.
Its executive member with responsibility for clean air, Councillor James Lewis, commented:
"We're already seeing hundreds of cleaner vehicles on our streets and as the Clean Air Charging Zone draws nearer we will no doubt see even more of the worst polluting vehicles disappear from our roads."
Image by philld CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons