Bath & North East Somerset Council has approved plans for a charging clean air zone (CAZ), which is expected to go live in central Bath on November 4.
Higher emission buses, coaches and HGVs will be charged £100 per day to enter the zone while higher emission taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, LGVs and vans (including private vans, campervans and pick-ups) will pay £9 per day.
Charges will not apply to private cars and motorbikes, regardless of their emissions.
Bath's plans are just one of a number of clean air proposals by cities this month:
- Oxford is set to become the first UK city to introduce a zero emission zone (ZEZ), which would charge all petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles that enter the city centre.
- Birmingham now wants to impose restrictions on freight vehicles entering the city centre and ban “through trips” by private cars.
- Councillors at Newcastle City Council (NCC) have backed final proposals for a CAZ in the centre of the city with buses, coaches, and lorries that do not meet environmental standards facing £50 tolls, while some taxis and vans would be hit with £12.50 fees.
- Cardiff, which previously rejected a clean air zone (CAZ), is now considering a £2 congestion charge for non-residents by 2024 as part of its new ‘transport vision’.
Bath's final business case will be submitted to the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit for approval in February. This includes a request for a further £4.1 million to install the scheme after £5.95m was advanced to the council for its design and development, and a bid for £14.2m of capital to fund the desired support and mitigations. It also outlines how any revenue from the scheme, over and above its operating cost, would be reinvested in initiatives that encourage more sustainable transport and travel in the area.
Councillor Sarah Warren, cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services, said “The aim of the charging zone is to urgently reduce high levels of NO2 pollution at several hotspots in the city, and create a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone who lives and works here. It’s particularly good news for asthma sufferers as exposure to high levels of NO2 can trigger attacks.
“We’ll see air quality improvements by 2021 at the latest, and the vehicle fleet improvements and changing habits that we expect to see as a result of the zone will mark a significant step in our journey towards tackling the climate emergency across the area.”
The charges apply to pre-Euro 6 diesel vehicles (five years or older) and pre-Euro 4 petrol vehicles (14 years or older).
Limited exemptions and concessions have been approved to support drivers of some non-compliant vehicles delivering important services, or with very hard-to-replace vehicles. These include organisations that provide community-based education, health or social care services, the emergency services and blue badge holders.
Interest free loans and/or grants – funded by central government – will also be available to help local businesses and individuals that regularly travel in the zone to upgrade non-compliant vehicles.
Councillor Dine Romero, council leader, said: “Now that the details of the zone are finalised, our focus will be on helping local businesses regularly entering the zone to upgrade non-compliant vehicles. We’ve received hundreds of enquiries about financial support already, and will be finalising the scope of this support next month when the funds will be agreed by Government."