Liberal Democrats on B&NES Council are to support the implementation of a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Bath. The Lib Dems have consistently championed action to improve air quality across the city to protect public health and our environment from dangerous nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) emissions that are produced from vehicles.
The measures fall into a Class C CAZ, which will include charges to higher emission vehicles like buses, coaches and HGV’s. However, unlike a Class D CAZ, these charges will not apply to private cars and motorbikes. Liberal Democrat Council Leader Dine Romero said: “The Liberal Democrats feel the introduction of this charge would be very unfair to commuters and residents.”
Other measures include the introduction of traffic mitigations to improve air quality in the most polluted areas of the city.
The decision to back a Class C CAZ follow the conclusion of an independent review over the proposals made in March of this year. The review was commissioned by the Lib Dem council to get evidence-based support for a CAZ, which we committed to in the party's manifesto at the May local election.
A spokesperson for BathNES Liberal Democrats said:
“We pushed very hard for improvements on the March proposals, but have been restricted by the government, who have failed to provide us with the appropriate scope and timescale to go further. Despite this, we were able to update the boundaries of the CAZ and introduce anti-idling enforcement powers
“The independent report also backed our view that a CAZ is only part of a solution to improve our air quality. Indeed, the review confirmed that we also need wider traffic measures.
“By placing the focus on upgrading vehicles with modern engines, the government’s definition of the CAZ fails to address congestion problems in Bath and ignores the effect of harmful carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions that are heating up our planet’s atmosphere.
“Fortunately, despite these short-comings, we are able to reinvest surplus income from the scheme into projects designed to expand more sustainable forms of transportation. This conforms to our long-term goal of making alternatives to car travel more affordable, convenient and desirable.”
The Cabinet’s decision will be announced on Thursday 12th September, before a consultation on the final plans due from 23 September.