The charging zone plan has now received government approval, along with a funding package of £29 million, £23m of which will be used to support affected businesses with grants of up to £16,000 per vehicle on offer.
The other £6m will go towards the cost of setting up a CCTV network to identify the number plates of vehicles entering the zone. Private cars, vans and motorcycles will be exempt from the charge.
The move, however, has been slammed by the Road Haulage Association, which is warning that the charge “is simply a punitive tax on the industry sector that Leeds relies on”.
Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive, said: “The goods still have to be delivered and there’s a strong possibility that there will be a considerable increase in van traffic. However, it takes approximately 20 vans to move the same amount of goods as one HGV so how will that improve air quality?
“This is yet another example of the government and local authorities using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”