The financial assistance scheme to support motorists impacted by the upcoming Newcastle and Gateshead Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is now open for applications from eligible businesses. The joint council scheme has appointed Shire Leasing PLC, an independent funder, as one of its partners to deliver financial support to eligible businesses in the form of a grant, interest-subsidised finance or a combination of the two.
The selection of Shire Leasing to deliver funds brings aboard the experience and familiarity gained through their ‘Driving Clean Air’ programme, through which over £2m of financial support has already been delivered to SMEs by means of their position on other similar government-funded CAZ schemes in the UK. In addition to being involved in the development and support of the Bath and North East Somerset CAZ Financial Assistance Scheme framework in 2019, Shire Leasing also administer CAZ financial support for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Bristol City Council.
Commenting on the launch of the Financial Support Scheme, a spokesperson for Newcastle and Gateshead councils, said: “Poor air quality has a serious impact on people’s health and one of the ways in which we are seeking to address this is by introducing a Clean Air Zone. This will help to reduce harmful emissions by encouraging individuals and businesses to upgrade and replace older, higher polluting vehicles – with financial assistance available to help towards the cost of doing so.
“We’re pleased to be working with Shire Leasing to deliver these funds to local businesses.”
Businesses interested in accessing the scheme must first pass an initial eligibility assessment with Newcastle City Council. Once a Basic Eligibility Letter is issued, businesses can use this to apply for financial support directly with one of the appointed funders.
Taxis which do not meet Euro 6 Diesel or Euro 4 Petrol emission standards will be charged £12.50 per day when the Clean Air Zone goes live on 30th January 2023. Buses and HGVs will be charged £50 per day. Charges for vans will not begin until July 2023.
With funds available on a first-come-first-serve basis, interested businesses are urged to complete basic eligibility and submit a finance application as soon as possible.