The Tyneside Clean Air Zone (CAZ) goes live in Newcastle and Gateshead on January 30, 2023 – and the cameras and signs are already in place.
Cameras began monitoring vehicles entering the zone on 3 October to “help raise awareness and encourage people to get prepared for the CAZ”, according to Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council.
Charging will be introduced in two phases – with non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles, buses, coaches and HGVs being charged from 30 January 2023. Any vehicle that does not meet Euro 4 (petrol) or Euro 6 (diesel) emissions standards will have to pay to enter the zone.
Non-compliant taxis and PHVs will have to pay £12.50 per vehicle, per day, payable via the national payment system that has been set up by the government.
Tyneside CAZ will also offer a local discount licence to non-compliant taxis and PHVs, which will cost £50 for a period of seven consecutive charging days.
Only vehicles that are registered with Newcastle, Gateshead or North Tyneside Councils will be eligible to apply for this discount. Non-compliant vehicles licenced outside any of these three authorities will not be able to apply for the discount and will need to pay the regular £12.50 charge.
Vans and light goods vehicles will not face charges until July 2023 to allow extra time for vehicle replacements, which are currently affected by a national supply shortage. Private cars, motorbikes and low emission vehicles will not have to pay the charge.
In total, 43 signs and 38 cameras are located at entry points around the boundary of the CAZ. Additional signage is in place on approaching routes and inside the zone while electronic signs on key routes are displaying alerts to inform people that charging will start in January 2023, said the councils.
The CAZ will cover most of Newcastle city centre as well as routes over the Tyne, Swing, High Level and Redheugh bridges.
Jane Byrne, cabinet member for connected city at Newcastle City Council, said: “Although the signage and cameras for the Clean Air Zone are now in place, we want to reassure people that there will be no charges until next year. Over the next two months we will be collecting details of vehicles entering the zone and contacting owners of non-compliant higher polluting vehicles to make them aware and provide information about how to get support and financial help.”
“We know that van drivers are finding it more difficult to replace vehicles at the moment due to national supply issues and therefore we are delaying charges for those vehicles to give those individuals and businesses more time to prepare.”
John McElroy, cabinet member for the environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “Affected drivers will be able to get support, including applying for financial help towards upgrading a vehicle, so we’re encouraging people to check if they are compliant and get in touch to find out about the support available.”