Council leaders have secured significantly more funding for Bath’s clean air zone than their original offer from central government.
It has now offered £15.5million to implement the scheme and support affected businesses, taking the total sum to £23.5million.
The figure is less than Bath and North East Somerset Council had hoped for and it will have to scale back its ambitions, but leaders are confident it will be enough.
The zone’s original start date was pushed back from November to an as yet unknown date early in 2021.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting on 22nd July, councillor Sarah Warren said: “Over the past few months we have been in negotiation with Government, challenging the initial funding offer for the clean air zone, which fell significantly short of our original request.
“Government has now agreed to provide up to £15.5million to implement the scheme and support affected businesses, bringing the total funding package to £23.5million.
“Having already completed much of the build, and revisited our financial models, we feel confident that this will be sufficient.”
The council has been offered £2.1million less than the £9.2million it wanted for implementation costs, all of which will come from the risk/contingency allowance.
It is set to receive £3.3million less than the £14.6million it requested for mitigation measures, but that is in line with the funding received by Leeds and Birmingham.
B&NES Council’s financial assistance scheme, bus upgrades and last-mile delivery proposals will all be scaled back, and it will have to shelve its plans for a car club.
Cllr Warren said the coronavirus lockdown had affected businesses and their plans to upgrade their vehicles so the financial support package was made more flexible.
Richard Samuel, the cabinet member for resources, said: “I’m very glad that the work we’ve put in has pushed back and ensured we have a clean air zone that will work effectively and isn’t clean air on the cheap.
“The announcement of the date can’t come soon enough. This is a really important step for the city of Bath.
“Air pollution has been far too high for far too long. It’s time action was taken to deal with.
“There’s a financial deal we can all live with and I think will deliver the results we all want to see.”
The cabinet voted to accept the funding offer.
When the clean air zone is activated, the worst polluting taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, LGVs and vans will be charged £9 a day to enter the zone, while buses, coaches and lorries will have to pay £100.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter