Thousands respond to Bath clean air zone proposal
Thousands of people have responded to the call for their views on plans to charge drivers of older, higher-emission cars £9 to enter Bath city centre.
Bath and North East Somerset Council has been consulting on a proposal for a clean air zone (CAZ) in the city to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide – and more than 8,400 people have taken part.
The number is thought to be a record for B&NES and is on a par with the level of response to consultations in far larger cities, including Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton.
Under the proposal, people who drive diesel cars registered before approximately 2015 (Pre-Euro 6) and petrol cars registered before approximately 2006 (Pre-Euro 4) would have to pay the new charge.
Vans and taxis in the same category would also be charged £9 while higher emission buses, coaches and heavy goods lorries would be subject to a £100 charge.
The council’s cabinet is due to receive a report on the results of the consultation on December 18, with officers saying that some of the main issues raised by the public included the boundary of the zone, impacts on specific groups of people and potential mitigations such as public transport measures.
They are recommending that a further report on the CAZ proposal is commissioned to include fully costed and modelled options.
Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, said: “We have been delighted with the response. Clearly our consultation has encouraged a real airing of views and stimulated a serious debate about this crucial issue facing our city and wider area.
“I have been to a great many of the public events and listened to hundreds of people’s views. I would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the consultation whether that is talking to me directly, attending meetings, answering the questionnaire or sending in letters and emails.
“All the responses have been thoughtful and they have covered a number of issues. These include concerns about rat running and parking in residential areas outside the proposed zone, suggestions for a bigger zone, and proposals for mitigations for those residents and businesses most impacted by the proposal.”
The report on the consultation results says improving air quality in Bath city centre – as directed by the Government – has to be balanced with the impact any scheme is likely to have, particularly where it may be seen to unfairly penalise residents and businesses, especially as the causes of poor air quality also relate to through traffic, tourism and the topography of the city.