Decision details

Clean Air for Sheffield

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes


The report will set out the work undertaken to assess the scale of the air pollution challenge in Sheffield and Rotherham following the direction by Government for SCC to undertake a Clean Air Zone feasibility study. It will also set out the appraisal of the mitigation options tested and recommend a preferred option that achieves compliant levels of Air Quality in the shortest possible time. Approval of the recommendation will result in the submission of an HM Treasury compliant Outline Business Case to Defra.




The Executive Director, Place submitted a report setting out Sheffield City Council’s ambition to make the city’s air safe to breathe for all.  As agreed in the city’s Clean Air Strategy, Sheffield City Council is committed to improving air quality across Sheffield as quickly as possible.




RESOLVED: That Cabinet:- 





endorses Sheffield City Council’s commitment to cleaning up harmful air in the city to improve the health and life chances of communities across the city;






recognises that Sheffield and Rotherham’s air quality challenge is intrinsically connected and therefore approves the development of a joint air quality plan and package of interventions with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of people living, working and visiting our areas;






supports and endorses the evidence and analysis of our air quality challenge that has been developed by Sheffield City Council and Rotherham MBC (working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Transport (DfT)) to fully understand the most significant sources of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO?) in Sheffield/Rotherham and identify the most challenging locations which breach legal limits for NO? pollution;






approves, in principle, the creation of a charging Category C Clean Air Zone in Sheffield with additional measures (referred to as ‘CAZ C+’) to, as a minimum, bring Sheffield’s air quality within the legal limit for NO? concentrations in the shortest possible time.






delegates authority to the Executive Director, Place, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Transport and Development, to jointly submit, with Rotherham MBC, the Sheffield and Rotherham Outline Business Case to Government by 31st December 2018; 






delegates authority to the Executive Director, Place, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Transport and Development and the Director of Financial and Commercial Services, to commence procurement for any necessary infrastructure, goods and services to implement the Clean Air Zone;






agrees to receive a further Cabinet report on Sheffield’s clean air proposals should Government require significant changes once Government has assessed the proposals in our Outline Business Case;






approves the launch of a statutory consultation in early 2019 on the city’s CAZ proposals to tackle NO? pollution; and






agrees to receive a further Cabinet Report on our finalised proposals along with our Final Business Case in 2019.





Reasons for Decision




Based on the outcomes of the Sheffield/Rotherham Feasibility Study, a CAZ C charging zone with additional measures (CAZ C+) is Sheffield’s preferred option to achieve legal compliance for the city’s NO2 emissions in the ‘shortest possible time’.




There is increasing evidence that air pollution has profound implications for the health and life chances of people, particularly more children, older people and lower income communities. Further, air pollution undermines people’s quality of life, causing asthma and increasing the chances of hospital admissions, visits to A&E, respiratory and cardiovascular disease.




The introduction of a CAZ C+ will deliver a rapid impact on the city’s ambitions to make our air safe to breathe for all.  Further, taking steps to address emissions from the most polluting vehicles on Sheffield’s roads through a CAZ C+ has the potential for Sheffield to access significant Government resource to support the upgrade and replacement of vehicles, investment which would otherwise not be available to us.




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




The development of our preferred option of a charging CAZ C+ to deliver an immediate impact on the city’s air quality has involved a thorough and detailed appraisal of air pollution, traffic flows and planned development in the city to understand the interventions that we need to introduce to bring the city’s air quality into within legal limits in the shortest possible time.




What the Feasibility Study has shown is that ‘doing nothing’ is not an option for Sheffield. This is because of the following:


• Sheffield and Rotherham have been mandated by Government and therefore have a legal duty to reduce NO2 emissions to within legal limits (40?g/m³) in the shortest possible time. Failure to do so would likely result in legal action and potentially significant fines.


• Our modelled data demonstrated that there are multiple sites in the city centre and Lower Don Valley that are currently in breach of the legal limits for NO2 pollution. The national change in the vehicles on the city’s roads (drivers/businesses upgrading and replacing their vehicles over time) will not be sufficient to bring NO2 emissions within legal limits by 2021 and therefore, further intervention is needed.


• More critically, there is an established and increasing scientific evidence base that demonstrates that exposure to air pollution has a devastating effect on human health.  In Sheffield, it is estimated that poor air quality contributes to 500 deaths a year but it also undermines the quality of life for people in the city.  Poor air quality impacts on the day-to-day lives and life chances of our communities, for example, 7-12% of annual childhood asthma cases were specifically attributable to traffic related air pollution and it increases the chances of hospital admissions, visits to A&E and respiratory and cardiovascular disease.  Therefore, urgent action is needed to reduce exposure to air pollution in Sheffield.


• Sheffield City Council’s Clean Air Strategy sets out an ambition to deliver clean air for all in the city and this includes a commitment to ‘focus on the biggest causes of air pollution and improve them as quickly as possible’. Delivering a CAZ with Government funding to support the drivers that are most exposed to the charging zone will be vital to achieve our clean air ambitions.




Given that ‘doing nothing’ is not an option because of the scale of pollution and the legal directive to reduce NO2 emissions in the shortest possible time, assessed options for Sheffield and Rotherham have been as follows:


CAZ with no charging – assessed to not deliver the impact needed in the shortest possible time.


Charging CAZ A (non-compliant buses, taxis) – incentivises change for two of the most polluting vehicles but insufficient to bring air quality within the legal limit in the shortest possible time at multiple sites across the city’s road network because of emissions from HGVs and LGVs.


Charging CAZ B (non-compliant buses, taxis, HGVs) – incentivises change for three of the most polluting vehicles but insufficient to bring air quality within the legal limit in the shortest possible time at multiple sites across the city’s road network because of emissions from LGVs.


Charging CAZ D (non-compliant buses, taxis, HGVs, LGVs, private cars) – whilst a charging CAZ D would achieve compliance, our Feasibility Study assessments indicate that a CAZ C with additional measures will achieve compliance in the shortest possible time without charging private car users. It is our judgment that, based upon all the evidence available to us, introducing a CAZ D is not required.  A CAZ D in Sheffield would have a significant and disproportionate impact on the city’s residents and lower income families in the city.  However, if Government assess our preferred option and propose that a CAZ D is required, Cabinet will be provided with a further paper outlining the implications of such a move for the city and the additional resource and mitigations that we would seek from Government.




Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted








Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration








Respective Director Responsible for Implementation




Laraine Manley, Executive Director, Place.




Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In




Economic and Environmental Wellbeing




Report author: Tom Finnegan-Smith

Publication date: 22/11/2018

Date of decision: 21/11/2018

Decided at meeting: 21/11/2018 - Co-operative Executive

Effective from: 29/11/2018

Accompanying Documents: