Widespread anti-pollution work will give West Yorkshire breath of fresh air

Widespread anti-pollution work will give West Yorkshire breath of fresh air

Work to improve air quality is taking place across West Yorkshire, this week�s meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority�s Transport Committee will be told.

Calderdale Council is working to reduce emissions along the A62 and in the other areas through its Air Quality Action Plan and Low Emissions strategy, both of which are currently out for consultation. Calderdale is also aiming to reduce emissions active traffic management, new walking and cycling infrastructure and the planned new station at Elland.

In the Kirklees district a trial that used data of vehicles passing through a junction on the A62 in Huddersfield to optimise the timing of traffic signal changes resulted in a 31% reduction in nitrogen oxides compared with fixed traffic signals timings. This success of a cost effective approach to traffic control achieved by reducing stop-start traffic conditions in air quality hotspots is now being shared with partner councils.

Largest fleet

Leeds City Council operates the country�s largest fleet of electric council vehicles fleet in the country and is part of the son-to-be launched Project ACCRA which investigate the ability of hybrid vehicles to automatically switch to zero emission mode when they are in an area of poor air quality. And, with diesel refrigeration units estimated to produce up to six times as much nitrogen oxides and up to 30 times as much particulate matter as a Euro VI HGV engines, a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-funded, zero emission transport refrigeration unit technology is being tested on HGVs delivering cold foods in Leeds. It is hoped that this will demonstrate a cleaner alternative for the refrigerated vehicle industry.

Wakefield Council is changing its taxi licensing standards, to require all new licensed private hire and hackney carriages are Euro VI diesel or Euro IV petrol/petrol-hybrid after two years. Through the adoption of the West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy, all authorities are supporting taxi and private hire trades move towards low emission vehicles and considering policy incentives to promote the uptake of ultra-low emission taxis.

Rapid charging

Another West Yorkshire-wide initiative is the Combined Authority�s delivery of up to 88 rapid charging points for taxis. Made possible in part through a successful �1.98 million bid to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) the scheme is forecast to support the conversion of 500 private hire and hackney carriage vehicles to electric.

And Leeds City Council is currently assessing the 9,000 responses received during its recent public consultation on a proposed Clean Air Zone, the outcome of which is expected this summer.

New evidence

Cllr Eric Firth, Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: �New evidence about the impact of poor air quality on health, particularly that of your young people, is being regularly highlighted with the transport sector coming under increasing scrutiny.

�I am pleased to say that we are already taking action on this. Our two park and ride facilities at Elland Road and Temple Green are removing around 6,000 car journeys from Leeds city centre streets every week, just two weeks ago we announce were are embarking on a �4.75 million scheme to fit emission-reducing clean technology to over 230 of West Yorkshire�s buses our �31.5 million programme to create more park and ride spaces at rail stations is ongoing.

�Also, last year we welcomed �23.5 million-plus of investment from bus companies Arriva Yorkshire, First West Yorkshire and Transdev have invested in new, low-emission vehicles in line with their Bus18 initiative pledge to reduce harmful emissions.

�In 2017, the Combined Authority adopted the West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy, which was jointly developed with the five West Yorkshire District Councils and Public Health England, and this report shows the work that�s underway to achieve the Strategy�s aims of reducing the harmful emissions from transport and other sources that impact on health and the environment.

�As well as reducing the 1,000 people estimated to die prematurely each year in West Yorkshire due to poor air quality, this work will contribute to a cut in the �20 billion it costs the UK economy in health care and loss in productivity through absenteeism.

�We do appreciate that some of these measures, including the introduction of Clean Air Zones, can present challenges to local transport operators and businesses and we are committed to working with our partners to provide support and secure funding that enables this vital work reflecting developments on a national scale, to progress.�

Successful bids

The meeting will also be told that as a result of two successful West Yorkshire funding bids to DEFRA, Kirklees Council has received �106,000 on behalf itself and Bradford, Calderdale and Wakefield Councils to deliver recommendations from West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy and Bradford Council will be receiving �195,000 for an air quality feasibility study to improve understanding on air quality in the city.

This week�s Transport Committee meeting takes place at 11am on Friday 25 May at Wellington House, Leeds.�

Link to the agenda.