Bath's Clean Air Zone to launch in March 2021
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Bath's Clear Air Zone will launch early next year - making it the first charging clean air zone in the country outside of London.
Originally due to be introduced in November 2020, Bath & North East Somerset was forced to delay by the coronavirus pandemic.
It will now launch on Monday 15 March 2021 with commercial vehicles like busses and lorries included in the charge - private cars however will be exempt.
WHO IS INCLUDED?
Higher emission taxis, private hire vehicles, minibuses, LGVs and vans (including pick-ups and campervans) will be charged £9 a day while higher emission buses, coaches and HGVs will be charged £100 a day.
WHEN WILL IT OPERATE?
The clean air zone will operate in the city centre 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
WHY IS IT BEING BROUGHT IN?
It is being introduced to help the city meet UK air quality legislation.
Several places in Bath currently exceed the legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution which is mainly caused by diesel and older petrol vehicles.
In 2017, the government directed Bath & North East Somerset Council to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in the city in the shortest possible time.
The government is providing all funding to help the council implement the Clean Air Zone - or CAZ.
IS THERE ANY HELP?
The council is currently contacting more than 9,000 local businesses to help establish whether charges will apply to their vehicles.
The council will be offering a financial support scheme for those who will be 'severely affected' by the CAZ.
The interest-free finance and grants will help those who may regularly have to pay the new charges for journeys in the zone.
The money can be used to replace non-compliant vehicles or adapt existing vehicles.
ARE THERE ARE EXEMPTIONS OR DISCOUNTS?
There is a wide range of exemptions available for hard-to-replace or special vehicles, disadvantaged groups and vital services in the city.
Discounts are also available for drivers of larger, higher emission motorhomes and horse-transporters.
Applications for all local exemptions and discounted vehicles will open in November.
Councillor Dine Romero, council leader, said, "In 2017 the government directed us to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in the city in the shortest possible time. Technical work showed that a charging zone was the only measure that could achieve compliance in the time frame we were given.
"The council consulted widely on this and agreed to introduce a class C charging CAZ with traffic management at Queen Square, charging all higher emission vehicles, except private cars and motorcycles, to drive in Bath's city centre.
"However, there is no getting away from the fact that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on many businesses and this will be an additional cost that they have to consider.
"We have worked hard to secure a considerable package of financial and other support to help business owners and I would urge them to get in touch, talk to us and find out how we can help.
"We all want clean air and the zone is a step towards our wider ambitions for Bath and North East Somerset to address air quality and tackle the climate emergency."
The council is now urging residents and businesses to check their vehicles to see if they'll be charged.