An independent review of work to date on proposals to implement a Clear Air Zone is to take place ahead of a bid for government investment to improve the air quality in Bath.
Bath & North East Somerset Council leader, Councillor Dine Romero, said the evaluation of work to date would ensure there were no missed opportunities ahead of the introduction of the zone by 2021, and confirmed that cars would not be charged to enter it.
“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.”
In March 2019, Bath & North East Somerset Council, agreed a class C charging clean air zone, which will exempt cars from paying to drive in the zone.
There is also an ambitious package of non-charging measures, which will see significant changes to both the way traffic is managed as well as the support people are offered to travel around the city.
This includes changes to park and ride concessions, additional charging points for electric vans and taxis, and low-emission, last-mile delivery plans to help businesses bring their goods into the city centre.
The plans also include a team of travel advisors to offer practical support to switch to cleaner transport and travel options.
Councillor Sarah Warren, cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Neighbourhood Services added: “We have wider ambitions for Bath and North East Somerset to be an exemplar for addressing air quality and tackling the climate emergency.
“The clean air zone is an important next step towards achieving this and a cleaner, greener, healthier community and every penny raised from charges will go back into improving local transport.
“Humanity’s impact on our environment has rightly been highlighted in rallies up and down the country, staged by young people demanding real change, and for me this clean air zone is an investment in the health and well-being of residents, future generations and our planet.
“It is important that we do not miss any opportunities to build on the clean air zone by making links to our declaration on Climate Emergency.
“This is why are undertaking a quick look again at the technical work so we can be assured of its robustness in ensuring that NO2 targets are met in the shortest possible time while also tackling carbon emissions.”
The class C CAZ will see daily charges for all higher emission vehicles (except private cars) to drive in the zone to urgently reduce harmful levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution by 2021 at the latest.