Bath consider congestion charge to cut air pollution
Bath could become the first city outside of London to charge
motorists to drive into the city centre.
Three potential options for charging high-emission vehicles to drive into the centre of Bath are
under review by Bath and North
East Somerset Council.
Along with 27
other authorities the Council is required by government to take action in the
shortest possible time and by 2021 at the latest as part of the National Air
Quality Action Plan.
No decisions have
been made, but the council is legally bound to reach a decision on a preferred
package of measures by December and it is seeking people’s views on the three
measures, which include a range of other solutions to encourage ‘greener’ modes
of travel designed to improve air quality in addition to charging.
The first option
includes charging buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods
vehicles (HGVs) which are pre‐Euro 4 petrol and
pre‐Euro 6 diesel to enter the city centre; a second option
extends the list of vehicles to include light good vehicles (LGVs) which were
pre‐Euro 4 petrol and pre‐Euro 6 diesel;
and a third option extends the list of vehicles to include cars which were pre‐Euro 4 petrol and pre‐Euro 6
Euro 4 petrol and Euro 6 diesel emission standards would be exempt from city
centre entry charges as would electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
costs, charging hours and which groups of high-emission vehicles would be
affected will be modelled and considered following a series of public events
being held over the coming months.
Goodman, cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, said: “There is no
doubt the air pollution has an adverse impact on people’s health. Like many
councils up and down the country we have to address these NO2 levels
and we have do to that in the shortest possible time and by 2021 at the latest.
“We want to strike
a balance with a package that can deliver the most benefit to local people in
terms of improved air quality, with the least impact on residents and the
economy within the deadline to reduce NO2.
“We are legally
bound to reduce levels of N02 in line with the government’s
requirements. As such, one of the three options for a Clean Air Zone would
involve charging certain types of cars to drive into the centre of Bath, whilst
the other two options would only affect other types of vehicles such as HGVs,
buses, coaches and taxis. As these three options illustrate, it may be
possible for us to achieve the required air quality improvements without the
need to charge cars, however further detailed work has to be done before a
final package is agreed later this year.”