Today is the day the Sheffield CAZ started. Public demonstrations against it have begun, based on the fear that CAZ is a new tax. The protesters are right. There are now seven CAZ in UK with Manchester the eighth being planned. London has the worst air quality, but their tax is called a congestion charge, so it is not an official CAZ. Londoners are realising that their transport costs are rising, so controversy about extending congestion charges to an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to raise revenues has emerged. Many citizens are not happy.
The key point is that penalising older combustion vehicles is not the answer. Only introducing Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) like hydrogen or battery designs can be truly effective.
Birmingham was the first UK CAZ in 2021 and resistance was low there because it was the first CAZ and the city centre NOx levels were toxic. NOx has since been reduced slightly, but it is not an impressive improvement when you consider that £47M in penalties have been received over the past 18 months. It is not clear how much of this revenue is used to clean Birmingham air. Probably zero, since the Government has not made it mandatory to spend the CAZ income on reducing emissions. Therefore. citizens are justified in calling it a tax. London raked in about £232M in 2022 but it has not been spent on cleaning the air. It truly is a tax which is being spent on diverse projects for the London-Mayor. Citizens are unhappy and it is rumoured that 10,000 Brummies are refusing to pay their CAZ penalties to annoy the City Council.
Bath Birmingham Bradford Bristol Portsmouth Sheffield Tyneside and counting. It will soon be a multi-billion pound industry in the UK.