Residents and businesses are being urged to check whether they will need to pay to enter Bath’s new Clean Air Zone when it launches on Monday 15th March.
The countdown is now well underway to the introduction of the Class C charging zone, which will see drivers of most pre-euro 6 diesel and pre-euro 4 petrol vehicles having to pay to drive into the centre of the city.
Private cars and motorbikes will not have to pay to drive in the zone, but daily charges will apply to higher emission buses, coaches, HGVs and motorhomes (£100 a day), and to higher emission minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles, LGVs and vans, including private pick-ups and campers (£9 a day).
Charges apply 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Businesses and individuals can check whether they will need to pay a charge to drive in a clean air zone using GOV.UK’s dedicated vehicle checker at www.gov.uk/check-clean-air-zone-charge.
The service now includes business accounts that enable users to check compliance of multiple UK-registered vehicles at once.
Councillor Sarah Warren, Joint Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services said: “We’re urging businesses and individuals to check whether they need to pay to drive in Bath’s CAZ, well in advance of its launch, using GOV.UK’s vehicle checker.”
“If you know that charges will apply to your vehicles, you can then plan what to do. Rather than pay the charge to drive in the zone, we ask that you look at options to upgrade non-compliant vehicles using the financial support on offer or look at reorganizing larger regional or national fleets, so that non-compliant vehicles avoid Bath.
“There are also local exemptions available for hard-to-replace vehicles, vehicles that support vulnerable groups, and also to support businesses such as taxis and small businesses that might be struggling, due to Covid-19, to secure the grants and interest-free finance included in our support package.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council is warning businesses that unlike London’s congestion charge, autopay will not be available in any clean air zone, including Bath’s.
This means that owners of non-compliant vehicles will need to carefully manage payments if they are not planning to upgrade or reorganise their fleets.
A charging clean air zone works by drivers of non-compliant vehicles declaring their journey and paying online at GOV.UK’s ‘Drive in a clean air zone’ service within a 13-day payment window.
Payment can be made up to 6 days in advance, on the day the vehicle is driven in the zone, or in the 6 days after. No reminders are sent.
It’s up to the driver or business account user to pay the daily charge within the payment window using a debit or credit card or saved bank details. Otherwise, they could receive a penalty charge notice.
Bath’s zone will be the first charging clean air zone to launch outside of London, with other cities, including Bristol and Birmingham, planning similar schemes.
The intention is to urgently drive down high levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide pollution in the city, mainly caused by vehicle emissions.
High levels of this type of pollution have been associated with worsening lung and heart conditions, such as asthma.
Councillor Joanna Wright, Joint Cabinet Member for Transport Services, added: “We can all do something to improve air quality in the city.
“While charges in the zone only apply to commercial and larger vehicles, we’re appealing to everyone to change their travel habits, particularly when Covid restrictions hopefully lift later in the year as people are vaccinated and the pressure on the NHS reduces.
“That could be using the park and ride, taking the bus, or walking or cycling more – particularly on the school run and for shorter trips across the city. To reduce the harmful levels of NO2 in Bath, we’re asking everyone to do their bit.”