Agenda item

Bath Clean Air Plan- update

This report provides an early, indicative view of the first 3 month’s performance of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in Bath and sets out a required variation to the Charging Order following the scheme’s launch on 15 March 2021.


Councillor Sarah Warren introduced the report by saying that Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) was an important public health measure, introduced because levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide in Bath were above legal limits.

CAZ went live on 15th March this year and the Cabinet would be updated quarterly on progress, and this was the first quarterly report covering the period from April to June of this year.

The update has covered a very short period, and over that time traffic levels were initially extremely low, and an average of 10% down on the equivalent period of 2019 over the quarter. These were still early days, but air quality was improving with some promising signs following CAZ introduction.

Councillor Warren took the Cabinet through the highlights of the report.

And added that, in the wider context, CAZ was just one of sustainable transport measures, aimed either at enabling alternatives to driving into the city centre, or reducing the emissions of those vehicles that do. The Council would encourage all drivers to be aware of the impacts of air pollution, and to think about each journey. By choosing an alternative means of transport, people have the power to directly help reduce air pollution and protect their own and their neighbours’ health. People could also consider upgrading their vehicle to a more modern and less polluting one – bearing in mind that there were still grants and loans available to support those whose vehicles are chargeable in the CAZ.


Councillor Sarah Warren moved the recommendations.


Councillor Dine Romero seconded the motion by saying she was pleased to see this report with a general trend downwards of nitro dioxide concentration levels although it was disappointing that the concentration levels in 8 locations have remained above the legal limit, with one site showing an increase.

Councillor Romero added that she was glad that her concerns over displaced traffic have been taken seriously but the results have not fully reflected residents’ experiences on roads in Southdown Ward.

Councillor Romero asked for an assurance that mitigating measures would be considered if the findings that more HGVs and other traffic were indeed in Southdown Ward roads.


Councillor Richard Samuel said that he was encouraged that there were some improvements in air quality, yet it was far too early to draw firm conclusions. Traffic patterns during March-June period this year were unrepresentative because many businesses were closed, schools were operating erratically and opportunities to travel were limited. Also, it was unclear if the Council was required to achieve full compliance by December 2021, or March 2022, or some other date to be announced, and some clarity about next steps should be given.

Councillor Samuel congratulated officers and Cabinet Members involved in the process so far.


Councillor Tom Davies welcomed the report by saying that the Council have been moving in the right direction with CAZ with an optimism that future quarterly reports would show gradual improvements in terms of the air pollution levels in the city.


Councillor Tim Ball also welcomed the report by saying that the Council have been moving in the right direction in terms of the reduction of nitro dioxide levels in the city.  Councillor Ball expressed his concerns on the level of traffic in Pennyquick Lane, in particular with number of lorries using this road.


Councillor Sarah Warren added that the Council would continue to investigate any issues that were raised in line with the investigation process, as set out in the report and should set a breakdown of any vehicles which might be making a detour, and what has caused an increase in traffic.


RESOLVED (unanimously) that the Cabinet agreed to:


1)  Note the successful launch and implementation of the CAZ during a global pandemic, the success in upgrading the local scheduled bus fleet and the successful response to the Financial Assistance Scheme to bring forward the replacement of non-compliant vehicles.

2)  Note the positive progress which has been made towards improving air quality and associated public health outcomes, together with increasing the proportion of compliant vehicles entering the CAZ and discharging the Ministerial Directions.

3)  Delegate authority to the Director of Place Management to make any non-material changes to, and authorise the adoption of, the Bath Clean Air Zone Charging (Variation) Order, and for it to have effect from the date of sealing.

4)  Note the performance of the scheme against the scheme financial model, ensuring it covers its costs of operation and avoids placing an additional burden on the Council and local taxpayers.

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