Businesses are being invited to check whether they qualify for financial support to upgrade polluting vehicles which may be charged following the introduction of the Bath clean air zone next March.
Funding, which has been allocated by the Government, would see eligible applicants receive up to £4,500 to upgrade taxis, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHVs) and vans, £20,000 for heavy goods vehicles and £35,000 for coaches and buses.
Bath’s new class C zone, which is due to come into effect on Monday 15th March, will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will charge higher emission vehicles up to £100 a day to enter, though private cars and motorbikes are exempt.
Bath & North East Somerset Council says it has already taken more than 700 calls from businesses interested in the grant scheme, which offers funding on top of any interest-free finance available.
Qualifying vehicles for the financial assistance include pre-euro 6 diesel and pre-euro 4 petrol taxis, PHVs, minibuses, vans, buses, coaches and HGVs that drive in the city centre at least twice a week.
Priority is to be given to individuals, charities, sole traders, and small businesses located in Bath and North East Somerset and the surrounding authorities.
Buses providing scheduled services in the city will be upgraded via a separate government fund.
Three FCA-registered vehicle asset finance companies, Shire Leasing, Close Brothers Asset Finance and Maxxia, have been brought in to administer the scheme under a “unique framework” developed by B&NES Council, which will be offered to other local authorities planning clean air zones.
Councillor Sarah Warren, joint cabinet member for Climate Emergency, said: “The council has done a great job in securing significant funds from the government for this scheme, and we want to ensure those who need help, get it.
“We’re urging businesses to check their vehicles to see if charges apply, and to then find out more about this scheme.
“With a cleaner vehicle you’ll be avoiding regular charges in the zone, and you’ll also be doing something good for the environment and everybody’s health.
“Our advisors are talking to lots of local businesses about the support available, and more than 700 people have expressed an interest, which is great. But we are asking for more businesses to come forward and find out more about this support.”
Ahead of the introduction of the new clean air zone, B&NES Council is asking anyone who drives into central Bath to check whether their vehicle will be charged, using the GOV.UK vehicle checker at www.gov.uk/cleanairzone.