Bath and North East Somerset council has secured £10m of funding from government to help businesses and individuals affected by Bath’s upcoming Clean Air Zone.
The money will be used to help local bus companies to upgrade older buses, provide financial support to help local businesses and individuals upgrade non-compliant commercial vehicles and to fund a team of travel advisors to help business access the financial support on offer and encourage people to switch to greener, cleaner travel.
The council will submit a full business case the government later this year where they say they will seek extra funding for other ‘mitigation measures’ to help businesses consolidate deliveries and reduce their reliance on large vehicles delivering goods into the city centre by using alternatives such as electric cargo bikes and vans and micro-distribution hubs.
Cllr Dine Romero, council leader, said: ‘While we have not yet secured all of the funding we bid for, this announcement from the Joint Air Quality Unit will allow us to move forward with Bath’s Clean Air Zone. We will continue to make our case for the full funding which is necessary to deliver the scheme successfully.
‘We don’t want people driving polluting vehicles in the city and we recognise businesses may need support to make the necessary changes.
‘This announcement means we can now progress the work needed to get the financial assistance scheme up and running, further improving air quality in the city.’
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.
Earlier this month, the new leadership running Bath & North East Somerset Council will take a ‘short independent look’ at the work to date on the CAZ.