The first set of events for people wanting to find out more about plans for a Clean Air Zone for Bath – including charging high-emission vehicles to drive into the city centre – are being held during April.
Two public events have been lined up by Bath and North East Somerset Council with lots more being planned over the coming months.
The Council has been asked to take urgent action to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide levels in the city and has drawn up a shortlist of three packages of measures which are capable of reducing vehicle emissions and bringing about the required improvement by the 2021 deadline.
No decisions have been made at this time 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. Over the coming months, each package of measures will be examined in detail and this includes ongoing public engagement, identifying the level of charges, hours of operation and assessing the social and economic impacts of each measure.
Councillor Bob Goodman, (Conservative, Combe Down) cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, said: “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 effect on residents and the economy within the deadline to reduce NO2. But we cannot do this alone. We are now starting a series of events where we want to continue working with residents, businesses and other organisations to develop a package of measures that is in the best interests of the city. It is important that people embrace this and help achieve sustainable improvements for future generations.”
The first public drop-in event is on Monday 9th April from 4-7pm; people are welcome to pop along to an information stand at the bottom of Milsom Street, Bath and find out more.
There is also a public surgery in the Guildhall, Bath on Wednesday 18th April from 3-7 pm; anyone wishing to attend this event needs to book a space by 12pm on Monday 16th April via the “Get Involved” section of the website: www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe
These 30-minute-long public surgery sessions are designed to enable people to discuss the issues in more detail, but you can also get an overview via the “Frequently Asked Questions” section of the website: www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe
Councillor Mark Shelford, (Conservative, Lyncombe) cabinet member for transport and environment, added: “We want to talk to people not just about the charging element but also about more sustainable ways to travel across Bath and the wider area. I would encourage people to come along to our free events. There will be more arranged over the coming months and the details will be on our webpage and in newsletters.”
To find out more go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe, which will also have details of regular drop-ins and events, how to subscribe to our newsletter. We will update social media #BathBreathes2021
NB.Both the videos on this feature have been produced by B&NES and are included with no comment from Bath Newseum. However, if you have some questions for Cllr Bob Goodman about these proposals then do use the comment section to relay them to me as l will be talking to him next week.
The types of vehicles that would be included within each of the three options are:
Small Class B charging option with complementary non-charging interventions
The focus of this option will be to introduce charging for Class B at small geography level. A Class B zone would apply a charge to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) which are pre‐Euro 4 petrol and pre‐Euro 6 diesel. In addition, this option will also include the following non‐charging options:
- Provide additional cycle parking across the city centre in visible locations and pilot a management scheme to improve proper usage of cycle parking (abatement)
- Extend walking and cycling priority schemes and encourage greater modal shift. Provide a safer environment for cycling and walking (abatement)
- Implement reduced residents’ parking permit cost for low emission vehicles (abatement)
- Promote low emission vehicles for Hackney carriages/private hire through review of taxi licensing policy (abatement)
- Implement public transport route improvements including bus priority, passenger information and waiting facilities (target particular routes or demographics) (abatement)
- Use variable message signs to promote air quality improvement messages. Potentially mobile and real‐time responsive signs (abatement)
- Increase the number or usage of existing VMS signs to provide information about parking and reduce unnecessary trips into the city centre (abatement)
- Targeted traffic management or improved bus priority on A367 Wells Road (abatement)
- Sunset period to exempt Euro 5 diesel vehicles to enable longer for upgrades (mitigation)
- Replace experimental TRO for bus lane on London Road with permanent TRO (abatement)
Small Class C charging option with complementary non-charging interventions
The focus of this option will be to introduce charging for Class C at small geography level. A Class C zone would apply a charge to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and light goods vehicles (LGVs) which are pre‐Euro 4 petrol and pre‐Euro 6 diesel. In addition, this option will also include the same non‐charging options as option 2.
Small Class D charging option with complementary noncharging interventions
The focus of this option will be to introduce charging for Class D at small geography level. A Class D zone would apply a charge to buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), light goods vehicles (LGVs) and cars which are pre‐Euro 4 petrol and pre‐Euro 6 diesel. This option will also include the same non‐charging options as option 2 and 3, with the exception of ‘targeted traffic management or improved bus priority on A367 Wells Road’, which will not be included within this package. In addition to the non‐charging options mentioned in options 2 and 3, this option will also include the following non‐charging options: • Expand proposal (included in Go Ultra Low package) to introduce electric cycle hire to the city (abatement)
- Pilot car sharing priority parking areas (abatement)
- Expansion of car club network in Bath (abatement)