Let’s work together says B&NES leader

Concerns in Wiltshire about proposals to vary the Bath CAZ Charging Order 2021 to introduce a charge for Euro VI diesel HGVs exceeding 12 tonnes has prompted a letter from the leader of B&NES.

Councillor Kevin Guy, has written to Wiltshire Council leader Councillor Richard Clewer suggesting ways to work together for the benefit of local communities.

In the letter, he said: “I make no apology for being clear in my response to Councillor Clewer that I put the health and wellbeing of Bath and North East Somerset residents at the forefront of all decision-making. This is why the cabinet agreed to consult on proposals to vary the Bath CAZ Charging Order 2021 to introduce a charge for Euro VI diesel HGVs exceeding 12 tonnes.

“However, it is right and proper that Councillor Clewer raises any concerns that Wiltshire Council’s has on this. I have therefore written to Councillor Clewer setting out our position. We want to continue to work closely with Wiltshire to improve our communities health and wellbeing, so I am suggesting that his council brings forward clean air policies of a similar nature to those progressed by Bath & North East Somerset. To this end, I am offering to share best practice and data, to ensure we are working for the benefit of our wider area.

“I am also keen to continue to work with Wiltshire and other regional partners on the wider strategic study that is underway with National Highways to consider the long-term plan for strategic north-south movements, as part of the M4 to Dorset Coast Connectivity Study. This may provide long-term certainty on the use of the A350 route for HGV traffic and provide the necessary investment.

“I have also offered our continued commitment to explore other opportunities with Wiltshire to promote sustainable travel between Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset, including the next steps for the East of Bath Express study, which will help us both to reduce traffic and reach our net-zero aspirations and obligations.”

Bath & North East Somerset cabinet met on November 10th and agreed a public consultation on the introduction of a charge for Class N3 Euro VI diesel HGVs together with associated local exemptions.

The proposal is to vary the Order to introduce a £50 charge for Class N3 Euro VI diesel HGVs which enter the charging scheme area.  This is lower than the existing charge of £100 for non-compliant Class N3 Euro V diesel HGVs and below, in recognition of the need to strike a balance between encouraging further improvements in the HGV fleet and operators sending older, higher polluting HGVs into the city.

This would be a local charge, sitting outside the national Clean Air Zone Framework, to support the council’s aims of going further to, protect road infrastructure, preserve the amenity of the Bath World Heritage Site setting, and respond to the climate and ecological emergencies. HGVs weighing under 12 tonnes would be unaffected by this variation.

Details of the consultation on the proposals are due to be announced shortly.

Here’s the letter in full.