Dozens protest over Sheffield Clean Air Zone charges in city centre

Many of those who turned up to the protest were from businesses who will be affected by the charges.

Dozens of people have turned out in Sheffield to protest against the new Clean Air Zone which will see some vehicles charged to enter the city centre.

Polluting vans and taxis will have to pay £10 a day, with lorries and buses charged £50 a day under the new rules which take effect on 27th February.

A protest took place outside the Town Hall on Saturday 4 February opposing the new measures, with people holding banners such as "No to Caz Tax" and "Say No to CAZ scam".

Campaigner Tim Wells, who was at the protest, said: "Once you get in charging commercial vehicles what we believe they will start doing is charging other commercial vehicles that are okay to drive on the inner ring road for free at the moment.

"And then in the longer term we believe that they will start charging cars to drive on the inner ring road."

The charges are due to take effect on 27 February

The clean air zone covers the inner ring road and the city centre, with cameras monitoring the area automatically identifying which vehicles should be charged.

But it will be an extra cost for many businesses like Moss Valley Fine Meats.

Stephen Thompson, from the company, was at the protest. He said: "Our chiller van doesn't fall under the remit of what can go in so we are going to get charged £60 a week because we go in six days a week.

"But also because the farm is in Derbyshire and the drive is in Yorkshire, Sheffield Council won't give us any help."

The council is putting £20m of government funding towards support packages to businesses who are affected by the changes.

Dozens turned up to a protest outside the Town Hall on Saturday afternoon

Cllr Julie Grocutt, Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council said: "Implementing a scheme like this can often be challenging and we understand and appreciate people’s concerns but we also have to acknowledge our duty to take action to protect the lives of our current and future residents.

"There are places in Sheffield that have illegal levels of air pollution. The Clean Air Zone aims to reduce the number of older and heavier polluting vehicles driving across the whole city - not just those using the inner ring road – by replacing them with cleaner vehicles."