Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clean Air Efforts 'Could Fall Apart' Says Council Will Need Funds to Make It a Success

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Clean Air Efforts 'Could Fall Apart' Says Council Will Need Funds to Make It a Success

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIEL HOLLAND Local Democracy Reporter

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a clean air toll in the city centre would fall apart if the government refuses to stump up the cash to fund them, Newcastle's Labour leader has warned.

As Extinction Rebellion (XR) protesters confronted the local authority over plans to impose daily charges on some high-polluting vehicles, Nick Forbes said he was "struggling" to get concrete promises from ministers over the massive project.

Coun Forbes told a cabinet meeting last night that it would be "incomprehensible" for ministers to demand antipollution action from the council by 2021 but not fund measures such as grants to upgrade older taxis and lorries, as well as the technology needed to enforce the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) tolls.

Under the CAZ proposal, coaches, buses and lorries will be charged PS50 daily to drive into the city centre from 2021 if they I am get time ministers actually about Newcastle leader Nick do not meet emissions standards. High-polluting taxis and vans will also pay PS12.50, but private cars have been made exempt for now. Cabinet members in Newcastle agreed to put their latest plans out to a six-week public consultation, which counterparts in Gateshead and North Tyneside are expected to also back on Tuesday, before being formally approved in November.

But Coun Forbes said: "I am struggling to get time with ministers to actually talk about this and get agreements that they would fund the proposals we are putting forward. If the government does not fund the mitigations we are looking for and does not put in place the national mitigation measures that they should have to, then frankly the whole basis of this falls apart."

struggling to with to talk this City Council Forbes Responding to a question from Lib Dem councillor Colin Ferguson on what would happen without government cash, Coun Forbes highlighted the specific example of installing automatic number plate recognition cameras that would spot high-polluting vehicles coming into the city centre. …

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