Coach operators respond say Sheffield's clean air zone will 'take money away from Sheffield'
Coach and minibus company operators in Sheffield fear the council’s Clean Air Zone proposals could force them out of business as cleaner vehicles are more expensive and hard to find.
Ky’s Executive Travel has operated in Sheffield for 16 years, but now the owner fear that he will have to close down and make his staff redundant if Sheffield Council’s Clean Air Zone comes into effect next year.
The Clean Air Zone would charge coaches and minibuses that do not meet emissions standard £50 a day to operate in the zone, which encompasses most of the city centre, to help reduce air pollution.
Ky Moynihan, from Hillsborough and founder of Ky’s Executive Travel, has a fleet of six vehicles which do not meet the Euro 6 standard and believes that the new rules are unfair.
He said: “We bring roughly 5,000 people a month into Sheffield. If I bring 26 people in on a coach I am taking at least six cars off the road. I have six buses, they are Euro 5 but all low emissions. We have to go a government approved MOT centre and every time they do an emissions test they say they are really low emission vehicles.”
Ky explained that one of his vehicles has lower emissions than its Euro 6 counterpart due to it’s exhaust, and produces 0.002 grams of nitrous oxide per mile compared to 0.006 grams of Euro 6 vehicles.
He added: “The council are not budging. They are saying if the engine is not Euro 6 it is not allowed in Sheffield. But surely it is about how much emissions it is producing. In the meetings with the council I have had so far they just don’t seem to care at all.
"It’s difficult even to find Euro 6 mini buses. There is a backlog of 18 months trying to get a Euro 6 Mercedes minibus. An E6 minibus second hand will cost between £60,000-£75,000. Then I have to convert it to a limousine party bus which can cost about £20,000.”
It would cost Ky upwards of £480,000 to replace his fleet, but he says he may take customers elsewhere instead.
He said: “I will just tell people don’t go to Sheffield and I will take them to Hull, Wakefield, Castleton or Barnsley.
"But it is taking money away from Sheffield.”
Air pollution causes 500 deaths a year in Sheffield.
Sheffield Council was approached for comment.
A final consultation on the CAZ has now opened, seeking input into support available to help people upgrade vehicles.
It runs until December 17 at sheffield.gov.uk/cleanair