THE PLANNED Clean Air Zone for Leeds is no longer needed, according to a joint review by Leeds City Council and central government.

The review says businesses have been switching to cleaner vehicles faster than expected - with more than 90 per cent of buses and 80 per cent of heavy goods vehicles driven in the city now using cleaner Euro VI engines. Nearly half of the city’s licensed taxi and private hire cars are also now hybrid or electric.

Councillors will discuss the conclusions and proposals to voluntarily introduce new air quality targets that go further than the national standards at a meeting of the council’s Executive Board next week. Because of the dramatic shift to cleaner vehicles, the review found that air pollution in Leeds on key routes is below legal limits and is not likely to exceed them again—even if traffic were to return to ‘normal’ levels or slightly higher.