More than 1,600 drivers were fined for not paying Newcastle’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charge in its first month of operation.
Council officials have confirmed that 1,658 motorists were hit with penalty charge notices (PCNs) for bringing a non-compliant vehicle into the CAZ without paying the toll from its launch on January 30 until the end of February.
Some older, high-polluting vehicles that do not meet certain environmental standards are now subject to daily tolls of either £12.50 or £50 to come into Newcastle city centre, under efforts to reduce roadside emissions.
The charges apply to older buses, coaches, taxis, and lorries – with tolls for vans due to start this summer. All private cars are exempt from the charges.
Newcastle City Council said that there were 1,476 journeys successfully paid for in the first month of the CAZ – fewer than the number of fines issued.
The amount of income generated by the CAZ in its first month was £54,327.50 – made up of £41,975 in toll payments, £7,402.50 in paid PCN fines, and £4,950 from discounted seven-day passes for taxi drivers.
A spokesperson for the Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone said: “The Clean Air Zone is in place to reduce harmful emissions from some of the most polluting vehicles on our roads and we will be monitoring the impact of the CAZ over time.
“We are still in the early stages of implementation and it is not yet possible to provide robust data that will accurately reflect how the CAZ is performing. The information we have at this stage reflects the early operational and enforcement arrangements that are in place temporarily and, when these come to an end, we expect to see an impact on the data.
“We intend to publish further updates on the performance of the CAZ as soon as we are able to do so.”
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