Charging Clean Air Zone launches in Bath

The UK’s first charging clean air zone (CAZ) outside of London has launched in Bath to drive down harmful pollution and protect public health.

Under the new system, polluting vehicles will be charged £9 or £100 a day to drive in the centre of Bath. Private cars and motorbikes will not be charged. It has been designed to tackle Bath’s air pollution problem which is chiefly caused by vehicle emissions. Several areas in the city regularly exceed the legal limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution – even during lockdown.

Bath is the first of several charging clean air zones to be introduced across England over the next few years. A similar scheme already operates in London, known as the Low Emission Zone or LEZ.

Bath & North East Somerset Council has set up a scheme to help owners upgrade their vehicles and already more than 500 businesses have applied. A further £1.58 million has helped local bus operators to retrofit fleet not already compliant in the zone. The council secured £9.4 million of funding from government to help residents and businesses, including coach companies and taxi drivers, to replace polluting vehicles with cleaner, compliant ones.

Dine Romero, leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council, said: “This a landmark day for the city. We’ve put up with unacceptable levels of nitrogen dioxide for too long. This is unfair on residents, particularly vulnerable older people and children. We want to reduce NO2 pollution in Bath to within legal limits by the end of 2021 at the latest, and a charging clean air zone is the only way we can achieve this.

“We know this is difficult time for businesses, but we’ve gone ahead with the zone during the pandemic because this is a pressing public health issue. However, we are working with residents and businesses to help them replace polluting vehicles with cleaner ones and there is significant financial and practical help available.”

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