New Bath council leadership to re-evaluate Clean Air Zone plans

The new leadership running Bath & North East Somerset Council will take a ‘short independent look’ at the work to date on the Bath’s upcoming Clean Air Zone.

Lib Dem Council leader, Dine Romero, who took control of the authority in May, said the re-evaluation would ensure there were no ‘missed opportunities’ ahead of the introduction of the zone by 2021.

Councillors backed a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for Bath in March, which will be a Class C version that gives exemptions to private cars but charges high polluting buses, coaches, HGVs, LGVs/vans, private hire vehicles and taxis.

The previous Conservative-controlled council had originally preferred a Class D CAZ, which would charge all higher emission vehicles, including cars, to drive in the city centre.

However, following a public consultation in December that garnered 8,400 responses, it was decided that a Class C option would be preferred as it would also meet compliance on emissions.

The Freight Transport Association branded the CAZ as the ‘very worst option for local businesses in Bath and the regional economy’.

Charges are set to be £100 a day for buses, coaches and HGVs and £9 for LGVs/vans, private hire vehicles and taxis.

Cllr Romero said: ‘We are on track for a consultation early in the autumn on the draft charging order, which will form the legal basis for enforcing the zone when it is launched by 2021.

‘We will also be talking to people about a substantial package of financial and practical support for businesses and communities affected by the charge, which includes £35 million for interest-free loans and grants to help businesses upgrade non-compliant vehicles and to install electric charging points.

‘However, before we finalise these we are taking a look at all the work that has been done to date to make sure we have a scheme that not only delivers clean air and improves health outcomes but also addresses Bath city centre transport issues.’

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