BRADFORD Council made over £1.6 million from the Clean Air Zone in its first three months.

A Freedom of Information request showed the local authority had received £943,443 in payments for charges.

Of this, £182,492 will go to central Government to cover the cost of its zone-linked services.

But with over 29,000 penalty charge notices issued during the three months for failure to pay the charge, total income for the council was £1,670,160.

Under the Clean Air Zone, commercial vehicles that fail to meet certain emission standards are charged a daily fee to enter Shipley and Bradford. Ordinary passenger cars are exempt.

Critics of the scheme include Keighley MP Robbie Moore, who has described it as a "direct tax imposed by Bradford Council on hard-working people".

But the council says the initiative will improve health in the district.

A spokesperson said: "The Clean Air Zone is expected to reduce nitrogen dioxide by 35 per cent and CO2 by 147,000 tonnes. Up to one third of childhood asthma cases in Bradford are caused by traffic pollution – the Clean Air Zone will help address this.

"Revenue from charges is mandated to be reinvested in further programmes in the district to reduce harmful emissions, this is after Government central service takes £2 for each paid journey.

"Schemes may include support for zero-emission buses, further help for residents and businesses to upgrade their vehicles, the development of low carbon hydrogen production facilities in the district and support for schools to reduce emissions in their areas. The Government does not allow the money to be spent on normal council services.

"Drivers may receive a £120 penalty charge – plus the road user charge – if the daily charge for a non-compliant vehicle has not been paid within the window. Payment can only be made using the Government website, or by calling the national contact centre on 0300 029 8888.

"We encourage all drivers to check their vehicles and find out if they need to pay to drive in the Clean Air Zone. Drivers should pay the daily charge six days before, on the day of travel or by 11.59pm on the sixth day after driving in the zone."

Bingley Rural Tory councillor Sally Birch says the council's Conservative group opposes the charging element of the scheme, but "fully supports a desire for cleaner air for our residents and for visitors to our district".