All you need to know about CAZ

London Road traffic.

 

Councillors, pressure groups and residents are going to be spending a lot of time in the coming months debating plans to create a Clean Air Zone in Bath city centre to tackle dangerous levels of polluted air – caused by vehicles with high emissions

B&NES has said it is legally bound to reduce levels of NO2 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. 

 

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London Road traffic.

As these three options illustrate, it may be possible for the council 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. This is why the authority is continuing to undertake further technical assessment and will be listening to the views of residents and businesses before coming to a decision on the final option.

Bath Newseum has got its hands on a list of questions and answers that may be useful to everyone in considering the next move – bearing in mind the Government has laid down a time limit in which action must be taken.

It’s a detailed list of questions but well – worth reading.

Q How long will a zone be in place?

Our aim is to improve the air quality for residents and businesses. The clean air zone will only remain in place until air quality has reached the required standards.

Q If you decide to charge higher-emission vehicles which engines will be exempt?

The following will be exempt from charges, 

• Euro 4 + Petrol vehicles (from approx. 2006)

• Euro 6 Diesel vehicles (from approx. 2015)

• Electric and hydrogen fuel-celled vehicles 

NUMBERS AFFECTED

Q. How many Car drivers will this affect when the new charging system is put in place?

No decision has yet been made on whether higher-emission cars will be charged there remain two other charging options that don’t include cars under consideration. It is important to recognise that older commercial vehicles account for a significant proportion of the air quality problems. Currently, just over half of all cars are compliant and won’t be charged. If cars were to be included by the time the scheme went live there would be fewer high emission vehicles on the road. 

Q How many HGV’S will be affected by the charging?

52% of HGV’s that travel into the city would be affected by the Clean Air Zone. We anticipate a large number of these vehicles which previously used the city as a shortcut would re-route to avoid the city entirely. This will have a massive benefit on air quality and significantly reduce the impact of these vehicles on our many heritage buildings. Removing HGV’s from Bath’s narrow streets is something that residents have been asking for and a suggestion that regularly comes up at meetings.

Q Will goods cost more in the city for residents as a result of charges for HGV’s?

Our object is to improve air quality across the city. We hope that the charging will encourage delivery lorries to be upgraded to lower emission engines before the new charging zone comes into force so the impact on residents should be minimal. We are discussing the introduction of a Clean Air Zone in Bath with the various hauliers associations as part of the wider engagement programme.

Q What will be the impact on tourism from charging coaches?

We think that it is right that coach operators that operate higher emission vehicles and make a living from Bath’s unique heritage contribute to paying towards improving the air quality in the city. The overall cost per tourist using coaches to access the city is likely to be minimal so we don’t anticipate that this will have a negative impact on tourism. Coaches do have the option of using the coach park at Odd Down with passengers using the Park & Ride to travel to and from the city centre. Charging tourists is widely accepted in Europe without reducing tourism. 

THE AREA OF THE CAZ

Q What area of Bath will be included in the CAZ?

We are including the central area of Bath as our modelling suggests that this has the maximum impact on many arterial roads leading into the City as well as improving the air quality in the centre. The Clean Air Zone has also been designed to discourage the use of nearby roads as rat runs. 

Q. What other alternatives have you looked at other than charging zones?

Our assessment indicates that only some form of charging zone will have the necessary effect of reducing NO2 by the target date set by the Government. The Council also looked at a range of other alternatives for the size of the zone from a large area covering the whole of the city to the small area covering the centre. A small central zone delivers benefits across the whole city, reducing the number of HGV’s using the streets as a short cut and generally improved the wider environment. The Clean Air Zone would be introduced alongside other non- charging measures to encourage greener modes of travel. 

COST TO THE PUBLIC

Q. How much will driving into the city cost with a CAZ?

No decision has been made yet on the options put forward. The level of charge has yet to be determined and the Council will be modelling the impact on air quality of different charging levels and listening to the views of residents and stakeholders before making any decision. 

It’s likely a consistent pattern of charging will be adopted across the West of England and the final level of the charge will need to be discussed with the Government. We will be discussing this matter with the West of England Combined Authority and the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit. 

A Charging Clean Air Zone means drivers of high-emission vehicles are charged when entering a specific geographic zone.  The aim is to reduce air pollution and improve health. The revenue is used to run the scheme, and any extra will be reinvested in greener modes of travel. 

Q. How much money will the Council make from this scheme?

The Council will not make any money from this scheme. If there is a large surplus then we’ve failed because it means higher emission cars are still coming in and we’ll not meet our NO2 reduction targets. What we have to achieve is cleaner air for the city. Money from a CAZ will run the scheme and any extra will be invested in things like encouraging greener modes of travel.

Q. What are you going to do with all the money you earn?

The Council will not make any money from this scheme. If there is a large surplus then we’ve failed because it means higher emission cars are still coming in and we’ll not meet our NO2 reduction targets. What we have to achieve is cleaner air for the city. Money from a CAZ will run the scheme and any extra will be invested in things like encouraging greener modes of travel.

Q. Will residents in the central zone have to pay every day?  

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge for higher-emission cars. There is further technical work to do and we also want to talk to residents and hear their ideas. However, if cars are included we will explore a range of discounts, exemptions and incentives to help residents make the switch to compliant vehicles – such as reducing the costs of parking permits for residents with lower emission vehicles. The Council would consider bidding for money for a means test local scrappage scheme.

Q. Will the charging be different for people living in the city who have no choice compared to drivers from outside that have more choice?

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge for higher emission cars. Although the charging framework is set nationally a local authority can at its discretion delay the introduction of charges to give people more time to make the switch to compliant vehicles. 

Q I live in Bath and work in Bristol – Will I be charged twice? 

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge for higher-emission cars.  However, if cars are included we will be promoting other alternatives such as using buses or trains. We will also liaise with WECA and Bristol City Council to make travel by public transport across the region easier and ensure that we promote greener ways to travel.

Note – see position statement at the beginning of the FAQ.  

RESIDENTS ON LOW INCOME

Q How do you feel about penalising the owners of older cars and those least able to pay?

The Government has told 28 Councils in England – including ourselves – that they must comply with NO2 limits ‘in the shortest possible time’, and by 2021 at the latest. This is part of its National Air Quality Action Plan, and is based on scientific evidence. 

If higher-emission cars are included in the Clean Air Zone, and no decision has yet been made, the Council will engage with the public to identify how best the scheme can be implemented to take into account the needs of people on low incomes. The Council would consider bidding for money for a means test local scrappage scheme.

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Rush hour traffic coming into Bath on the London Road

Q. Will you be providing a discount to people on low incomes?

If higher-emission cars are included in the scheme the Council are keen to hear how it could be introduced whilst at the same time minimising the impact on low-income and vulnerable groups. The Council anticipates that growing demand for public transport will provide a great incentive for commercial operators to improve bus services. The Council will also be encouraging car sharing clubs and other community initiatives that will assist. 

Q How will you deal with people that have real hardship and cannot afford to comply? 

No decision has yet been made on whether higher-emission cars will be included.  However, the Council is very keen to hear from residents that believe they will face hardships as a consequence. If cars are included in the Clean Air Zone the Council would explore a range of initiatives that provide alternatives to car usage including encouraging residents with older vehicles to use the Park and Rides or public transport to get into the City centre.

Q. Will you be extending the hours of the Park and Ride buses for those people on low income that work unsociable hours?

The Council is looking at the pattern of usage of P&Rs and if there is sufficient demand to run additional buses then it will look at the options to do so.

Q Will people who live in Bath but work across two days – such as night shifts face being charged twice?

No decision on whether higher-emission cars will be charged has yet been made. We are looking at ways as part of the wider engagement and modelling to ensure the charges are fair on everybody, including night shift workers. Our objective is to improve the health of local people and make the city a more attractive place to live. One option could be a 24 hour charge period that starts when you enter the zone, instead of a daily charge.  We want to hear your views.  

HOW WILL IT OPERATE

Q How will it work?

Cameras will be placed on roads into and within the zone and number plates recognised and compared to a database to enable the correct charge to be applied. The final technical arrangements have not yet been finalised as this depends on the option chosen.

Q What hours will it operate?

This has yet to be determined but it’s likely it will operate on a 24 hour basis. The Council is open to suggestions from the community about the operating hours but would need to ensure that the impact meets the Government requirements for cutting emissions by 2021 at the latest. 

Q Will there be a delayed introduction for residents to review their options?

The government requires us to deliver the reduction in NO2 by 2021. If higher-emission cars are included in the Clean Air Zone depending on the technical assessment we would look to give residents a period of grace with a delayed introduction to give them the opportunity to make necessary changes.  Cars only remain one of the three options under consideration. Our aim is to improve the air quality for as many people in the city as possible. 

Q Can you pay in instalments?

The Council will be listening to people’s views before a decision is made. 

Q Will there be a discount for people to pay in advance?

This is something we are looking at, no decision has been taken.

Q. Have you considered a scrappage scheme – like Derby?

This is something we are looking at, no decision has been taken.  The Council would consider bidding for money for a means test local scrappage scheme

Q. Why have you not picked larger zones?

See earlier response

TAXIS

Q How would Taxis be affected by this new system?

There are currently 547 taxis in the city and roughly a quarter are already compliant.  However, by the time the charges are introduced, we anticipate that the majority of firms will be working towards upgrading their fleets. 

Q Will this force non-compliant Taxis off the road? 

We will be working with the Taxis operators to encourage them to invest in compliant vehicles. We think that many taxis will have met the new standards by the time the charges are introduced.

Q Will you be allowing Taxis to increase their fares to compensate?

The Council regulates Hackney Carriage tariffs to ensure they remain good value for money and support the provision of a healthy taxi service – which is considered important.  There are no plans to allow Hackney Carriages to increase their charges as a direct result of the charging. The Council has no control over the tariff rates used by Private Hire vehicles.  We will work with the taxi operators to encourage modern vehicles that are exempt from the charges.

Q will you be prepared to meet Taxi drivers face to face?

The Council already has a close working relationship with taxi operators and we are in constant dialogue with them. 

CONGESTION AND PARKING

Q Is this a pre-cursor to introducing a congestion charge?

A clean air zone is designed to tackle pollution and improve the health of residents.  It is an avoidable charge unlike a congestion charge. The Clean Air Zone will only be in place until air quality has reached the required standards.

Q Will a clean air zone reduce the volume of traffic in the city?

We are looking to change the mix of traffic in the city to lower emissions.  However, it is likely there will be a reduction in the number of HGV’s using the city as a shortcut; thereby improving air quality and reducing congestion in the city. The Council, together with its partners, is looking at other longer term solutions to reduce the volume of traffic in the city centre.   

Q Shouldn’t you focus on putting better alternatives in place and improving the wider road infrastructure?

The introduction of a Clean Air Zone is specifically designed to tackle pollution and improve the health of local people.  Alongside the charging element, we will also introduce a range of non-charging measures designed to encourage greener modes of travel such as encouraging the use of electric bikes and cars.  In the longer term we are working with our colleagues at the West of England Combined Authority to look at what improvements can be made on the wider road infrastructure network. 

Q Is this the price we pay for you failing to find a suitable site for a Park & Ride to the East of the City?

The introduction of a Clean Air Zone is specifically designed to tackle pollution and improve the health of local people.  A Park & Ride would not have removed higher-emission HGV’s, coaches, taxis etc. 

Q How will you prevent people rat running to avoid being charged?

The Council want to avoid this happening and will be exploring additional ways to make it less attractive when the zones are introduced. We are listening to the views and ideas of local people as part of the engagement process.  A further option would be to extend the size of the charging zone which would reduce rat running but extend charges to a greater number of vehicles. 

Q How will you prevent drivers from parking in residents parking places?

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge high-emission cars from entering the Clean Air Zone. However, if high-emission cars are included the Council wants to avoid drivers parking in residents parking places and will explore additional ways to make this less attractive.  We are listening to the views and ideas of local people as part of the engagement process.  A further option would be to extend the size of the charging zone which would reduce anit-social parking but extend charges to a greater number of vehicles. 

Q How will you enforce this?

The number of parking attendants has recently increased from 30 to 35 and it is expected that there will be additional patrols in the area outside the zone.

We will continue to monitor resource needs.

JOBS AND BUSINESSES

Q. Will this impact on jobs in the city?

Demand for business space in Bath is growing. The Council is developing at Bath Quays North opportunities for thousands of new jobs, and as part of its approach is already working with developers to ensure that people commuting into town use our P & R sites and sustainable modes of travel. Therefore, if high-emission cars are included in the Clean Air Zone we consider it unlikely in the longer term that this will have a negative impact on jobs. 

Q. Will it lead to businesses moving out of the city?

Demand for business space in Bath is growing. The Council is developing at Bath Quays North opportunities for thousands of new jobs, and as part of its approach is already working with developers to ensure that people commuting into town use our P & R sites and sustainable modes of travel. Therefore, if high-emission cars are included in the Clean Air Zone we consider it unlikely in the longer term that this will have a negative impact on jobs.  In regards to deliveries, we hope that charging will encourage delivery lorries to be upgraded to lower emission engines before the new charging zones come into force.

Q. Does it conflict with your plans for North Quays?

No, our plans for North Quays include providing sustainable ways for people to travel into the centre and to public transport hubs. This includes well-signed footpaths, electric charging points, cycle shelters and a pedestrian/cycle bridge connecting to Oldfield Park Station. We are also encouraging the use of the Council’s Park & Ride sites.

Q. Won’t shoppers just go elsewhere – where they can park for free and avoid a clean air zone charge?

If higher-emission cars are included in the clean air zone we would encourage shoppers to use our extensive Park & Ride options. It is important to reiterate that 27 other cities across the country including Bristol will also have clear air zones.  The Council is also considering two other options that don’t include cars at all.

Q If Bristol don’t include cars will you also exclude cars to avoid shoppers going elsewhere?

We are legally bound to reduce levels of NO2 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 the council 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.

TOURISM

Q How will this affect tourism and the hotel trade?

If high –emission cars were included in the clean air zone the Council wants to ensure that hotels and B&Bs continue to flourish in the city. We would explore additional ways for hotel guests to transfer to their accommodation. Other countries have successfully introduced pick-up services (mini-buses) run by commercial operators and this remains an option to be considered. The Council would be interested to hear ideas from the tourism community to support the implementation

Q Is it reasonable for customers of B&Bs to have to pay?

The Council has not yet determined whether higher-emissions cars will be included.  However, the Council wants to ensure that hotels and B&Bs continue to flourish in the city. Therefore, we will be encouraging the hotel and B&B sector to explore additional ways for guests to transfer to their accommodation. Other countries have successfully introduced pick-up services (mini-buses) run by commercial operators and this is an option to be considered. The Council would be interested to hear ideas from the tourism community to support the implementation. 

Q Will you be providing any help to B & B’s?

A Clean Air Zone will help Bath become a more attractive destination. The Council is very interested to hear from owners of B&Bs and to discuss the things that the Council can do to assist them. B&B and hotels are essential to the local economy and we want them to thrive.

MISCELLANEOUS

Q Will people be charged additional amounts for deliveries from Amazon, Hermes, DHL etc?

There are 28 areas of the country in the same situation as Bath and therefore we anticipate that the larger companies will be factoring this into their fleet replacement plans and will not pass the costs onto their customers. We’ll be advising delivery companies ahead of implementation. 

Q Will the Council be charged for using its own vehicles such as waste lorries, street cleaning, fleet vehicles and even the mayors car?

Yes. We’re working with the relevant teams within the Council to ensure that their vehicles are compliant so as to minimise any impact. We’re also working with our Corporate Sustainability Team to minimise the impact of the changes on staff travel to work.

Q Will you be charging the Police, Fire, Ambulance service – even when not on emergency calls?

The Council does not anticipate charging emergency vehicles and over the next several years we will be engaging with these services to encourage the use of compliant vehicles where possible. However, taken as a proportion of total vehicles the number of emergency vehicles is very small. 

Q Will you be charging charities – taking money from the most needy?

The Council supports the voluntary sector in a number of different ways but believes that the sector has an important role to play in supporting initiatives that improve the health of their own communities. We’ll be listening to our views of our partners and stakeholders as part of our engagement process. 

Q Will you charge blue-badge holders?

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge higher emission cars. We’ll be listening to the views of local people before any final decisions are made. However, we will not be charging drivers of vehicles that are specifically taxed as a disability class.

Q Will you be charging parents doing the school run if they need to enter the zone?

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge higher emission cars. However, if high-emission cars are included and families are driving non-compliant vehicles they will incur a charge. The Council works with schools to promote sustainable ways to get to school, and supports local initiatives to encourage more walking and safe cycling, including our safer routes to school programme. 

Q Will you be providing school transport for parents that cannot afford to drive their children to school?

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge higher emission cars. However, if cars are included people who have eligibility for home to school transport will continue to receive this. The Council will continue to review home to school transport criteria on an individual basis to ensure that those who need it will receive it. 

If families are driving non-compliant vehicles, then they will incur a charge. The Council works with schools to promote sustainable ways to get to school, and supports local initiatives to encourage more walking and safe cycling, including our safer routes to school programme. 

Q Will the CAZ apply to motorbikes?

Exemptions such as one for motorbikes and discounts will be considered as part of our assessment and after engaging with the public.

Q If you decide to charge higher-emission cars – which cars will be exempt?

The following will be exempt from charges, 

• Euro 4 + Petrol vehicles (from approx. 2006)

• Euro 6 Diesel vehicles (from approx. 2015)

• Electric and hydrogen fuel-celled vehicles 

Q Will this lead to a reduction of bus services?  

There are 28 areas of the country in the same situation as Bath and therefore we anticipate that the larger companies will be factoring this into their fleet replacement plans and as such this will not lead to a reduction in services. The Council is also supporting bus operators in the transition to lower emission vehicles and has recently won money from the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund to retrofit some buses to be compliant. We will also be bidding for further funding in due course to help operators to become compliant.

Q Are you intending to give a discount for the many older people that live in the city?

No decision has yet been made on whether to charge higher emission cars.  However, if cars are included all owners will be treated equally.

Q Will you be reducing business rates for business hit hard by this?

We have no plans to reduce business rates. We are working with investors and the business community to attract new business. Demand for new business space in the city currently exceeds supply.

Q Will there be an appeal process?

Yes. Details have yet to be finalised. 

Q Will you be doing more for cyclists and if so what?

Yes, the Council has recently secured Go Ultra-low funding to invest in electric bike hire. Improvements will also be made to cycle routes and cycle parking. Cyclists in the city will benefit from a more pleasant cycle friendly environment. 

Q When will you be publishing the data you have based your evidence on?

We are working on this and will shortly be publishing anonymised data.

Q Does this apply to individual cars or can it be designed as a single charge for families?

The CAZ applies to individual vehicles.

Q Do you believe the cameras will infringe people’s civil liberties? How will the images be used? How long will they be kept for?

New European regulations regarding data protection come into force in May.  The Council will be adhering to the GDPR rules regarding the retention and use of data. 

Q Will you prosecute people that refuse to pay? 

Yes 

Q How will people be able to pay?

We are expecting people to be able to pay in all the usual ways: online, by text message, by phone and in person at selected newsagents, shops and petrol stations in cash or by debit/credit cardboth on-line or over the telephone. Details will be well publicised before the implementation of the zone. 

Q What about foreign vehicles specifically large HGV’s?

Our intention is to charge foreign vehicles and we are exploring the mechanisms to do this.