Clean Air Zone grants scheme to be reviewed

Support scheme that's paid over £2m to help buy cleaner vehicles to be reviewed at end of 2023.
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Photo shows a road sign warning drivers that there is a Clean Air Zone 100 yards ahead with the Tyne Bridge in the background.

A financial support scheme that has paid out just over £2m in funding to help people buy cleaner vehicles is to be reviewed at the end of the year.

More than 540 vehicles have been upgraded, to become compliant with Clean Air Zone requirements, through the grants scheme since it launched last November.

So far, support has been focused on those drivers who have no choice but to operate within the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone. 

The current eligibility criteria include a requirement for applicants to demonstrate regular business activity within the zone.

A review of the scheme will now look at what improvements could be made to the application process and what changes could be made to the eligibility criteria to enable more people to qualify for funding.

Cllr Marion Williams, cabinet member for a clean, connected city at Newcastle City Council, said: “Vehicle upgrade grants have been hugely beneficial to hundreds of taxi drivers and businesses in our area and I’m very pleased that we are now in a position where we can look to extend this financial support to more people.”

Cllr John McElroy, cabinet member for the environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “It’s important that we maximise the number of compliant vehicles on the roads to improve air quality for everyone. So it’s very positive that we’re looking at revising the criteria for more drivers to benefit from vehicle upgrade grants.”

The review will begin from 17 December 2023, when applications will temporarily close. This means anyone who wishes to apply for funding under the current eligibility criteria must do so before the end of that date.

Any existing applications, or new ones that are received by 17 December, will continue to be processed in line with the current timescales and eligibility criteria and applicants will receive a temporary exemption from CAZ charges while this takes place. 

Applicants are reminded that transactions for the sale or purchase of a vehicle must not be made in cash. Full details of the current terms and conditions and eligibility criteria can be found at www.breathe-cleanair.com/grants.

The grant scheme will be relaunched with new terms and conditions and revised eligibility criteria in February 2024, when applications will re-open.

Further details about changes to the scheme and the eligibility criteria will be confirmed nearer the time and people are encouraged to register for email updates in order to be kept informed. People can sign up to receive updates at www.breathe-cleanair.com/sign-up.