Agenda item

Bath's Clean Air Plan- Outline Business Case

Poor air quality is the largest known environmental risk to public health in the UK. Investing in cleaner air and doing more to tackle air pollution are priorities for the EU and UK governments, as well as for Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES). B&NES has monitored and endeavoured to address air quality in Bath, and the wider B&NES area, since 2002. Despite this, Bath has ongoing exceedances of the legal limits for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and these are predicted to continue until 2025 without intervention.

This report provides an update on the actions undertaken following the Cabinet meeting in December 2018 and sets out the decisions required to submit the final Outline Business Case (OBC) to Central Government containing the preferred final Clean Air Plan (CAP) to discharge the requirements within the Ministerial Direction served on the Council in July 2017.

A draft OBC was subject to public consultation on 16 October 2018 for a period of six weeks based on the preferred option of a charging Class D Clean Air Zone (CAZ) charging all vehicles. Since then work has been undertaken to process the outcome of the consultation and prepare a revised, final OBC for the delivery of the CAP. The revised OBC further assesses the shortlist of options set out in the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOC), and proposes a revised package of measures, including a revised class of CAZ which will still bring about compliance in the shortest time possible in Bath.  The final OBC also includes further details about how the scheme will be implemented and the revised funding bid to central government to ensure successful implementation of the CAP.

The consideration of options for a CAZ, comprises three main elements:

  The charging mechanism (class of zone);

  The boundary of the zone; and

  The details of the bid to be submitted to government to implement the zone, along with mitigation measures for those households and businesses that are expected to be disproportionately impacted by the scheme.

All of the above should be considered in light of:

  the public consultation outcomes and the further technical and financial modelling done;

  having due regard to the council’s legal obligations in respect of air quality (AQ), public consultation, equalities and the Ministerial Direction; and

  the risks associated with each option.


Councillor Tim Warren thanked everyone who addressed the Cabinet on this matter.  Councillor Warren also thanked businesses, residents’ associations and members of the public who contacted the Cabinet outside the meeting (such as Morland and Oldfield for Clean Air association who sent their statement to the Cabinet in advance of the meeting).


Councillor Tim Warren invited Councillor Bob Goodman to introduce the item.


Councillor Bob Goodman introduced the item by saying that this was the most important decision to be taken by this Cabinet in his time. Councillor Goodman said that what he was trying to do was to form a balanced approach to this issue which administrations have ignored for many, many years – after all the health of residents was of  paramount importance. 


Councillor Goodman thanked the officers who have formed a formidable team that was clearly the envy of many local authorities.  Councillor Goodman also thanked Councillors Shelford and Warren for their support, help and patience on this matter.


The technical modelling that Councillor Goodman had asked for had indicated that Class C was possible subject to traffic management within Queens Square. This would reduce the potential financial impact on businesses throughout the City but still would achieve compliance by 2021 at the latest. 


Councillor Goodman also welcomed extension of the CAZ boundaries and mitigation measures for businesses. 


Councillor Goodman added that the following just as important proposals would include:


·  Free Park and Ride aimed particularly at those with polluting vehicles.

·  Park and Ride with extended opening hours and with appropriate security

·  Cycling lanes

·  Officers to promote buses to school, the proposals would be some of the most radical in the country which would substantially reduce the car journeys to and from schools.

·  Introduction of further Resident parking Permits

·  Traffic signal control  optimisation to prioritise public transport

·  Anti-idling officers

·  Improved Park and Ride signage

·  120 Electric Vehicle charging points – The Council have just secured funding £400,000 for charging points for taxis.


Councillor Goodman concluded the statement by saying that WECA has been supportive of the scheme and that his motion would allow compliance but also the start of a journey to ensure we have the Greenest Cleanest City in this country. 


Councillor Bob Goodman moved the recommendations.


Councillor Mark Shelford seconded the motion by thanking the officers for their hard work and commitment on this important matter.  Councillor Shelford also said that charging Class C CAZ proposal would make sure that Bath would be compliant whilst having a minimum impact on residents.  Councillor Shelford welcomed that Park and Ride would have extended operational hours and that the Council would work on boosting public transport in rural networks.


Councillor Charles Gerrish commented that the Council had to consider mixed needs of the community following 8,400 responses from the consultation.  Councillor Gerrish welcomed the changes to CAZ boundaries and added that charging Class C CAZ would not be a money generator for the Council – the money would be re-invested in measures to improve air quality.


Councillor Paul May commented that sometimes local politics needs to step away over issues greater than it.  Councillor May thanked the residents and also to young people and children for their input in the consultation. 


Councillor Karen Warrington also thanked the officers for their commitment and hard work.  Councillor Warrington also said that air quality was quite emotive subject to those who opposed and those who supported the proposals. 


Councillor Paul Myers commented that charging Class C CAZ was in the best interest of residents and that it would not have significant impact on businesses and labour market.


Councillor Vic Pritchard commented that the Council has to be compliant within a specific timescale.  Councillor Pritchard supported the charging Class C CAZ proposal and added that WECA would need to be included in the programme.


The Chair thanked everyone who responded to consultation, everyone who came to workshops and everyone who addressed the Cabinet on one of the most important decisions made by the Council. 


RESOLVED that the Cabinet made unanimous decision to:


2.1  Consider and accept the revised OBC as the final plan as set out within the Ministerial Direction and to support this final plan to be submitted for approval.

2.2  Subject to confirmation of funding implement a charging Class C CAZ charging all vehicles except cars, along with targeted traffic management in Queen Square.

2.3  Subject to confirmation of funding implement an enhanced package of supporting measures as set out in paragraph 3.6 of the report, including grants and interest free loans for residents and businesses, in order to achieve sufficient improvements in air quality and public health.

2.4  Have due regard to the Equalities Impact Assessment and the community impacts of the decision being taken in line with the requirements under the Equalities Act 2010.

2.5  Note the recommendations from the CTE panel and the responses provided in the report.

2.6  Note the Consultation Report and Consultation Response Report (as published on setting out the views of the respondents to the public consultation and analysis of these views.

2.7  Agree the concessions and exemptions as set out within the Proposed System Design Features and Payment Exemptions report (as published on 

2.8  Agree a charge of £9 per 24 hour period for non-compliant taxis (Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles) and LGVs/vans and £100 per 24 hour period for non-compliant coaches, buses and HGVs.

2.9  Agree a Penalty Charge Notice rate of £120 (plus the CAZ charge), which will be reduced by 50% to £60 (plus the CAZ charge) if paid within 14 days in line with the requirements of the appropriate legislation.

2.10  Note the revision to the zone boundary so that it now includes the Pulteney Estate area, and agree the revisions to the zone boundary so that it also now includes the Bathwick Estate and Sydney Place areas and the Oldfield Road junction with the A367 within the zone boundary.

2.11  Agree the proposed monitoring arrangements for AQ and traffic flows in Bathampton as specified in section 5.9 of the report.

2.12  Agree an amendment to the Council’s Event Policy to restrict any event which will have a detrimental impact on AQ.

2.13  Agree that the decision to submit the Full Business Case (FBC) and make the Charging Order is delegated to the Chief Executive in consultation with the Council’s s151 Officer, Monitoring Officer, Leader and Cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhoods.

Supporting documents: