Cabinet members at Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside councils will meet next week to confirm the proposals for tackling air pollution which will then go out to public consultation.
Options people will be invited to comment on will include a potential charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ). However, it is suggested that even the highest level of CAZ would not be enough on its own to address the problem.
Potential tolls on the three main road bridges over the Tyne (the Tyne, Swing and Redheugh bridges) ard being considered. Charges would apply to all lorries, vans and cars regardless of their emissions. Buses and taxis would not be required to pay.
Any tolls on bridges would be charged per journey and could be around £3.40 for lorries and £1.70 for vans and cars.
In a charging CAZ, charges would apply to all vehicles that do not meet the government’s minimum emissions standards. Charges would be per day and could be around £50 for lorries, buses and coaches and £12.50 for vans, taxis and cars.
The consultation, which will run from 6 March to 17 May, will reflect charges consulted on by other areas – including Leeds and Birmingham – or those in use on existing Tyne crossings.
Money paid by drivers through charges would be used to cover the cost of running the CAZ or toll system and any surplus would be reinvested in highways and public transport improvements.
Other measures being considered include a Low Emission Zone where lorries, buses and taxis that do not meet minimum emissions requirements could be banned from entering Newcastle City Centre at certain times. A series of additional non-charging measures will also be in the consultation.
Measures to support people and businesses affected by potential charges are also being considered. This could include financial support or scrappage schemes and help for people on lower incomes to switch to public transport.