Newcastle coach company forced to fork out £100k on new exhausts due to clean air zone regulations

In order to make his coaches meet the standards Graham Greaves has said he has to change the exhausts in his five coaches costing around £20,000 each. Credit: Newcastle City Council/ ITV

A Newcastle coach company has said it has been forced to fork out £100,00 on new exhausts due to clean air zone regulations.

Coaches which don't meet national emissions standards have to pay a daily charge of £50.

In order to make his coaches meet the standards, Henry Cooper Coaches boss Graham Greaves has said he has to change the exhausts in his five coaches costing around £20,000 each.

  • Video report by Kris Jepson.

Mr Greaves said: "We’ve come through Covid, we’re just starting to get going again, we’ve got something else and something else comes along, bang, it hits us."

The charges came into force for coaches at the end of January.

The council is offers grants to people whose vehicle does not meet the Clean Air Zone emissions requirements to help replace or upgrade it.

Although this grant system includes £16,000 of funding per coach, Mr Greaves has not yet received the money and so has had to front the costs himself until the payment comes through.

Meanwhile he is still paying £50 a day per coach to enter the clean air zone.

The Newcastle Clean Air zone charges will include vans and light goods vehicles from Monday 17 July. Credit: ITV

He said: "Every time we enter Newcastle, there is a £50 charge. So you have those five coaches in today, that’s £250.

"We’ve tried hard enough, we’ve done everything, we’ve jumped through all the hoops, please give us these grants."

The new charges have been implemented as part of the government's Net Zero plans to cut emissions by 100 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050.

Newcastle was one of the councils ordered to take action regarding illegal levels of pollution in the city centre, which can cause a number of health problems, particularly for children and older people and those who have existing conditions.

However Mr Greaves said he's found the roll out and communication from the council frustrating.

The Newcastle Clean Air Zone charges came into force on January 30. Credit: Newcastle City Council

Andrew McGuinness, Confederation for Passenger Transport, said: "So operators are trying to seek clarity, but then the communication hasn’t been sufficient in answering that.

"Again, we’re very willing, very willing partners, working with the local authority to meet their clean air aims and objectives, but what we need is just a little bit more clarity individually of operators."

Pamela Holmes, Newcastle City Council, said: "Whilst we are processing grants, people will not be charged for entering the CAZ.

"It is taking us some time to get through, because we’ve received quite a lot of applications from a number of the vehicle classes, taxis, HGVs, buses, and LGVs.

"We’ve had a lot of media and comms, TV adverts and radio, so I think people are aware of the charges that are coming in on Monday."

According to emission levels there has been a 26% decrease in nitrogen dioxide emissions in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year around Newcastle.

Prof Anil Namdeo, an air quality expert, Northumbria University, said: "From the initial study, we have seen a big reduction and I understand with the LGV and vans it’s going to have, again, another step in the right direction.

"It will lead to further improvement in air quality."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...