Leeds was identified in 2015 by DEFRA as one of six locations in England that is not expected to meet air quality standards by 2020, and therefore required the introduction of a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ), alongside other additional measures. In December 2017, the Council’s Executive Board outlined a plan for a charging CAZ to cover the area within the outer ring road of Leeds. It was proposed that only commercial vehicles (excluding LGVs) that did not meet the minimum emissions requirements would be affected. M·E·L Research was commissioned to carry out two phases of consultation analysis. M·E·L Research teamed up with industry experts Ricardo to deliver the consultation analysis.
Leeds City Council developed the questionnaire, and managed and collected the questionnaire responses for Phase 1. For phase 2, M·E·L Research hosted and collected the questionnaire responses. An online survey was used to gather responses, for both consultation periods and was publicised from early January to March 2018 for Phase 1 and July to August 2018 for Phase 2. Overall, 8,744 responses were received for phase 1 and 3,532 responses for Phase 2.
Alongside data of the traffic impacts, emission information, an independent economic analysis and guidance from the government, the findings of the informal consultation helped to form the charging CAZ proposal. A final business case for the CAZ proposal was then presented to JAQU by Leeds City Council in September 2018.