Bath is planning to introduce a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) by November, if the final business case is approved by Government.
Councillors supported the scheme, which will see non-compliant vehicles charged up to £100 per day to drive in the city centre from November 4, 2020.
The switch-on date has been set out in a timeline of works to install the clean air zone.
HGVs, buses and coaches will incur charges of £100 per day for while taxis, minibuses and vans will have to pay £9 per day.
Private cars and motorbikes will not be charged, regardless of their emissions.
The council’s full business case for the zone has been submitted to the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) for final approval. This sets out the details of the charging zone, taking into account feedback from the latest public consultation, including its boundary and the charges, concessions, exemptions and payment policies which will apply.
Councillor Dine Romero, leader, said: “Tackling pollution is a priority for us if we’re to improve people’s lives and address the climate emergency. A great deal of work has gone in to getting to this point, and I want to thank everyone who took part in our consultations and had their say. This has been a complex process and I’m pleased that the final business case, going before government, strikes a balance for the city, its residents and businesses. This is of course the first step in our ambition to make Bath cleaner and greener for everyone.”
If approved, the council hopes that the government will sign off the programme by 14 February. The council will then focus on encouraging the uptake of the financial assistance scheme among local businesses and individuals affected by charges to upgrade their vehicles. It will also start installing the necessary signage, cameras and infrastructure required for switch-on.
Chris Yarsley, policy manager for the South West at FTA, said: “A Class C charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is the worst option for businesses in Bath and the regional economy; it will directly impede the work of the region’s business community. FTA is disappointed by Bath & North East Somerset Council’s decision to proceed with an air quality scheme that will exclude private cars and place the heavy financial burden of improving the city’s air quality on commercial vehicle operators. This decision is tantamount to a stealth tax on the hard-working local businesses and vehicle operators which already contribute so much to the public purse and help keep Bath functioning by delivering the goods and services that supermarkets, schools, and other businesses need operate.
“While FTA and its members are fully supportive of the need to improve air quality in the UK’s cities, a charging CAZ is not the most effective method to do so; other solutions can deliver a better outcome in a quicker time frame, without damaging the local economy. In the view of FTA, Bath & North East Somerset Council would be better placed to concentrate on traffic management and encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles.”
More details on the Bath CAZ are available here: https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/bath-breathes-2021-overview