Bath and North East Somerset Council has shortlisted three options for a charging Clean Air Zone in the city.
The council was one of the 28 ordered by the Government last year to prepare an action plan to bring nitrogen dioxide concentrations down to within EUlimit values in the shortest possible time.
Bath says the zone must be in place by 2020. The three zone options all cover the same city centre geography (see map) but differ in the vehicle types covered:
• Class B: charges would apply to higher emission buses, coaches, private hires, taxis and heavy goods vehicles
• Class C: as B but also including light goods vehicles
• Class D: as B and C but also including higher emission cars
In line with the Government guidelines, petrol vehicles with Euro 4 or newer emissions rating will be exempt, as will diesel vehicles with Euro 6/VI.
The council is considering further exemptions, such as for emergency vehicles, community transport, blue badge holders and motorbikes. The hours of operation and levels of charges have still to be determined.
The Freight Transport Association’s head of UK policy, Christopher Snelling, said: “When the proposed zone comes into effect in 2020, many logistics operators, especially small and medium-sized firms, will still have non-compliant vehicles and so will face charges of around £100 per day to get through Bath.
“The effects will be worse if vans are included, which is one of the options. There will only be four years’ worth of compliant vans in the fleet, so any small business that relies on second-hand vehicles to operate in or through Bath may be priced out of business.”
The council is considering a sunset provision for owners of Euro 5 diesel vehicles, giving them more time to upgrade/replace their vehicles. Complementary measures could include reduced residents’ parking permits for lower-emission vehicles; bus priority; and changes to taxi licensing policy to encourage the take-up of low emission vehicles.
Two consultations on the plans will take place, in late summer and autumn. The final plans must be submitted to Government in December.
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