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Government approves Class C CAZs for Bath and Sheffield

Andrew Forster
24 May 2019

The Government has approved plans for class C charging clean air zones (CAZ) in Bath and Sheffield. Proposals to improve air quality in Southampton, Rotherham, and parts of Hampshire and Surrey have also been approved.

All the proposals have been drawn up to ensure the areas comply with the EU annual mean limit value for nitrogen dioxide in the shortest possible time.

Class C CAZs will see charges imposed on taxis, private hire vehicles, vans, buses, coaches and lorries that fail to meet the minimum emission standard. 

Bath and North East Somerset Council initially proposed a class D charging CAZ for the centre of Bath, which would also cover cars. The plan attracted thousands of complaints and in March the council said new modelling showed that either a charging class C CAZ with traffic management or a charging class D CAZ would achieve compliance by 2021 (LTT 15 Mar).

The council opted for the class C scheme with the traffic management involving installing traffic signals at two junctions.

The CAZ should be introduced in December 2020 with a £9 daily charge applying to non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles and light goods vehicles (the minimum standard being Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol). A £100 daily charge will apply to non-compliant  buses, coaches and HGVs (the minimum standard being Euro VI). 

The Government says Bath must comply with the EU limit value by 2021 at the latest.

The Government has approved Sheffield City Council’s plan for a class C CAZ covering roads within and including the city’s inner ring road. 

Sheffield has described its scheme as a class C+ zone because it would set a stricter standard for taxis and private hire vehicles than the Government’s recommendations for class C CAZs (LTT 23 Nov 18). 

Taxis and PHVs will have to be liquefied petroleum gas, petrol hybrid, or electric. The Government’s recommended minimum standard for taxis and PHVs in a class C CAZ is Euro 4 (petrol) and Euro 6 (diesel).

Neighbouring Rotherham Borough Council is also covered by a ministerial direction. Its proposals include a ban on HGVs travelling northbound on Wortley Road and Upper Wortley Road towards the M1; a 50mph speed limit on the Eastern part of the Sheffield Parkway (A630); and financial support for taxi drivers, bus operators and light goods vehicle drivers to upgrade/change their vehicles.

Sheffield and Rotherham must achieve compliance by 2021 at the latest.

The Government has ordered Southampton City Council to achieve compliance by the end of this year. The council originally envisaged implementing a class B charging CAZ covering buses, coaches, taxis/private hire vehicles and HGVs.

In January, however, it said its roads could comply with the EU limit values by 2020 without a charging CAZ at all. 

The Government has approved the council’s alternative £2.8m package of measures, which includes: freight consolidation; an accreditation scheme for HGV operators; a Traffic Regulation Condition requiring buses in the city centre to be a minimum of Euro VI; and a taxi licensing condition change to require a minimum of Euro 6 (diesel) or Euro 4 (petrol) for newly licensed vehicles in 2020 and all vehicles by 2023. 

The Government direction issued to Rushmoor and Surrey Heath district councils and Hampshire and Surrey county councils requires them to achieve compliance by 2021 at the latest. Their approved proposal involves reducing the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph along a non-compliant section of the A331 (LTT 29 Mar). 

Fareham Borough Council  and Hampshire County Council must achieve compliance by 2020. The Government has approved their plans for a taxi upgrade incentive scheme; real-time passenger information and QR codes for buses; improved cycling infrastructure; and Split Cycle and Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) signalling at Quay Street roundabout. 

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