More than 5,000 people have already responded to Sheffield City Council’s clean air plans. The consultation will close on Sunday 25 August. If you want to have your say on the air quality in Sheffield, make sure you respond to the consultation at www.sheffield.gov.uk/cleanair before Sunday.
The plans include the introduction of a clean air zone – where the most polluting buses, taxis, vans, lorries and coaches will be charged to enter the inner ring road of Sheffield. Support in the form of grants and loans is being requested from Government to help local small businesses and drivers upgrade their vehicles to cleaner standard.
The council has been talking to those most affected by the plans – the taxi trades, bus companies and local businesses. Although the formal consultation will close on 25 August, further talks with all affected stakeholders will continue up until the clean air zone comes into force in early 2021.
Air pollution contributes to 500 deaths a year and recent research shows that 12% of childhood asthma is caused by poor air quality.
The results from the consultation will be published along with the final plans when they go before Cabinet later in the year. The plans will then be submitted to the Joint Air Quality Unit in central government to access £50 million of funding to deliver the zone and the additional support for local drivers.
Councillor Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Transport and Planning, said: “The conversation around reducing air pollution has just begun and will continue long after the end of the formal consultation on 25 August. However, we urge as many people as possible to view and respond to the plans for Sheffield’s clean air zone.”
In July’s Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee, the proposal to extend the consultation for a month was suggested. In response, Bob said:
“We need to act swiftly to deal with air pollution and the public agree with us. We’ve received more than 5,000 responses so far, making it one of the best-performing consultations we’ve run. It’s important that everyone’s voice is heard but we can’t afford a delay if we want to reduce the illegal levels of air pollution by 2021.
“We’ve considered the recommendations of the cross-party scrutiny committee but we’ve decided to respectfully decline their request to extend the deadline for the reasons set out above.”
Information on the plans can be found at www.sheffield.gov.uk/cleanair.