The Road Haulage Association is accusing Leeds City Council’s clean air plans of lacking credibility.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett is dismayed that the council has used inaccurate and out-of-date information in their Air Quality Consultation.

He says they’ve over-estimated the number of Euro VI trucks that will be used in the CAZ by 2020 and are still promoting retrofit options for older lorries to get them up to the same emission standards – despite the fact that no retrofit option is available for lorries.

He said: “Using the wrong data is misleading. How can Leeds’ residents, businesses and stakeholders have any confidence in a consultation that fails to offer them a balanced and accurate view?”

Leeds says that 94 percent of HGV journeys in the CAZ in 2020 will be made by Euro VI lorries. But the RHA insists their claim is based on the misreading of information from DEFRA – which used old, unpublished Transport for London data relevant to the capital and covering a different time period.

The RHA challenges the council’s claim that the CAZ won’t lead to a shift from lorries to large vans, which are excluded from daily charging. Some operators will turn to vans which will mean more congestion and more pollution. There was an angry public meeting between hauliers and council officials two weeks ago at which operators told the council they won’t be able to absorb or pass on the cost, so they’ll stop operating in Leeds – or simply go bust.

Mr Burnett concluded: “Leeds’ CAZ proposal is poorly thought out and will be devastating for many businesses. The city council needs to come up with a plan that targets emission sources proportionately instead of simply hitting hauliers with ridiculous charges and hoping for the best.”

The RHA calls on Leeds City Council to adopt an intelligent phasing approach to the CAZ to allow hauliers realistic timeframes to upgrade to Euro VI.

The RHA’s response to Leeds City Council’s Air Quality Consultation: