Government money of up to £10 million has been announced to fund various schemes that will help reduce the impact of Bath’s proposed Clean Air Zone on businesses and residents.
The funding is on top of £5.5 million already secured to implement the zone when it is launched by 2021.
Earlier this year, Bath & North East Somerset Council agreed a class C charging clean air zone which will exempt cars from paying to drive in the zone.
The class C zone is being introduced to urgently reduce harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution by 2021 at the latest.
Private cars and motorbikes will not be charged, but higher emission commercial vehicles such as vans, lorries, buses, taxis and private hire vehicles will be affected.
The council has already put in a bid for more than £28 million to fund a wide package of measures to support those affected by the scheme and further improve air quality in the city.
To date, it has been successful in securing £10 million 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.
As part of the full business case to be submitted later this year, the council will seek 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.
Councillor 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.
“In the meantime we can start to focus on supporting those local businesses directly affected by charges. 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.”
The council is 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.
Councillor Sarah Warren, cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services, added: “In addition to funds to mitigate the impact of the scheme, any future revenue from the zone will be reinvested into sustainable transport and travel.
“We want to encourage people out of their cars by improving our sustainable transport networks.
“The clean air zone is an important next step towards achieving this and a cleaner, greener, healthier community plays a vital part in our overall commitment to climate emergency and the health and wellbeing of residents, future generations and our planet.”