Air quality January 2019 update
Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside councils have been ordered by the government to prepare a plan about what additional actions are required to address pollution caused by vehicles.
This is in response to levels of roadside nitrogen dioxide on certain roads, which are expected to remain above legal limits in 2021.
The three councils are carrying out a joint feasibility study to identify what measures are needed to tackle the problem.
Councils were required to submit an outline business case to government by the end of 2018.
A draft outline business case, setting out the options which have been tested and the findings from those tests, has been submitted.
View the outline business case submitted to government:
Findings from the options testing
A number of different options were tested in our transport and/or air quality models. These included:
- Do Minimum - only committed investment and schemes
- Charging Clean Air Zone Class B 'Outer' - a Class B charge in an area between the A1 & A19. This was tested only in the transport model and it was quickly concluded that the level of traffic that stopped using the city centre routes was so small that it would not deliver compliance
- Charging Clean Air Zone Class B 'Inner' - a Class B charge focused on Newcastle & Gateshead Town / City Centres stretching onto the A1058 Coast Road
- Charging Clean Air Zone Class C 'Inner' - Class C charge focused on Newcastle & Gateshead Town / City Centres stretching onto the A1058 Coast Road
- Charging Clean Air Zone Class D 'Inner' - Class D charge focused on Newcastle & Gateshead Town / City Centres stretching onto the A1058 Coast Road
How the options are tested
The options are tested using models which seek to anticipate the impact of different measures on traffic movements and pollution levels.
How reliable the findings are
As with any modelling analysis, option testing is underpinned by a series of assumptions which result in a margin of uncertainty of the final results.
For this study, the transport model used was designed for a different purpose and as such is not the most appropriate for this type of work. The deadlines imposed for conducting the feasibility study also meant that there was a constrained time period to undertake additional analysis.
What happens next
Further work to analyse the potential impact of the different options on residents and businesses, and to look at possible alternative measures is needed before councils can determine the option that will be taken forward for consultation.
How much a charge would be
We have not yet determined what type of charge will be required, which vehicles may have to pay or how much any charge would be.
Using the government's framework, if a charge is introduced it would only apply to the most polluting vehicles which do not meet emissions standards.
For the purposes of our options testing we had to include an assumed level of charging in our modelling. We have used the same levels as Leeds and Birmingham did for their modelling (£50 for a bus or HGV to enter a clean air zone and £12.50 for other vehicles).
These assumed charge levels are purely based on other cities' modelling and it is important to stress that we have not made any decisions in terms in relation to charging here.