KEIGHLEY-area businesses have contributed to "significant" improvements in air quality across the district, say council bosses.

Grants totalling more than £20,400 have been awarded to transport operators and other firms to upgrade vehicles so they're compliant with the Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

The zone, introduced last year, sees commercial vehicles that fail to meet certain emission standards charged a daily fee to enter Shipley and Bradford. Ordinary passenger cars are exempt.

Bradford Council implemented the CAZ to help tackle illegally-high levels of air pollution.

Data collated from automatic monitoring sites within the zone shows some of the lowest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) recorded since records began in the Bradford district.

And figures from monitoring stations outside the CAZ indicate that concentrations of NO2 have remained stable and continue to be well within the legal limits.

A council spokesperson says: "We have seen over 65 million journeys to date in the Clean Air Zone. Thanks to vehicle upgrades, the non-compliant journey rate has dropped from 3.6 per cent in the summer of 2022 to 1.5 per cent at the end of July this year. This means that per month, only 1.5 per cent of approximately seven million vehicle journeys into the CAZ are chargeable.

"Compliant vans have increased from half to 70 per cent, while larger vehicles like articulated lorries have risen from around 80 per cent compliant to 97 per cent. Our Bradford taxi fleet is 99 per cent compliant – the cleanest fleet in the country, and mainly comprising hybrid electric vehicles. Our bus operators now have 317 newly-compliant buses, with funding for new electric vehicles in place for later this year."

The council says CAZ revenue, which in the first three months amounted to over £1.6m, is being used solely on projects to further improve air quality in the district.

Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, says: "We all have a moral, environmental and legal responsibility to make the district's air cleaner and improve the health of our residents and visitors.

"We want to thank businesses and transport partners that used the grants available to upgrade vehicles in advance of the launch of the CAZ. It’s good to see these measures translating into significant improvements in air quality.

"The number of non-compliant vehicles has fallen, which improves air quality not just in Bradford district but throughout West Yorkshire.

"Grants are still available to businesses wishing to upgrade vehicles."