Agenda item

Consultation to Vary the Bath Clean Air Zone (CAZ) Charging Order 2021

Following the Cabinet decision in December 2021 (E3322: Cleveland Bridge Review) officers have completed feasibility assessments on varying the Bath Clean Air Zone (CAZ) Charging Order 2021 so that all Class N3 Euro VI diesel HGVs (HGVs over 12 tonnes) become chargeable under the charging scheme, for the benefit of air quality and the amenity of the CAZ area (including the Grade II* Cleveland Bridge) and the wider Bath World Heritage Site setting.


The attached report considers the details of the feasibility assessments and requests Cabinet to agree a period of formal public consultation on this proposal to inform a decision on whether to vary the Order as set out above.


Cllr Manda Rigby introduced the report, moved the officer recommendation and made the following statement:


“The key ‘ask’ I'm bringing to Cabinet today is at paragraph 2.2 of the report, in that I would like to start a consultation involving key stakeholders on the introduction of a charge for class N3 Euro VI diesel HGVs together with associated local exemptions.


Since its implementation 18 months ago, the Bath Clean Air Zone is showing progress in improving local air quality, and this impact has been felt both inside and outside the area. We are setting our sights higher for our residents than just achieving compliance with legally imposed limits, we want our air to be even cleaner. We will continue our journey to net zero, whilst preserving the World Heritage status of our city. Further measures already delivered include emissions-based charging, improved active and sustainable transport infrastructure, and my colleague Sarah Warren is delivering the first pilot Liveable Neighbourhood schemes during this month.


This proposal is to be seen as part of the package to continue this progress. Early engagement has already taken place with relevant trade organisations, and statements from trade bodies including the RHA have been received, in letters received after these papers went out but which were circulated to all Cabinet Members.


So, what precisely am I asking of you? Were the order to progress successfully through consultation, the charge is deliberately set lower than the existing charge to deter the use of older, more polluting vehicles. For the avoidance of doubt, HGVs which are predominantly doing the more local deliveries as part of the supply chain for our local businesses fall into the under 12-ton category and are specifically excluded from this order. In recognition of the amount of work the industry has already done in upgrading vehicles, there will also be some time limited exemptions and a period of soft enforcement to embed the behaviour change. So, my ask is to go to consultation on a new charge which will encourage even more of the most polluting vehicles to upgrade their fleet or use alternate routes avoiding the congestion and pollution hotspots in the city. This will further protect the recently repaired grade 2 listed Cleveland Bridge, and I have agreed with my colleagues as you can see at paragraph 3.9 of the report that traffic flows both within and on the boundary of the area, in areas such as Southdown, Twerton and Weston, will be monitored, published, and appropriate mitigation measures considered.


Thanks for sticking with me during this quite technical proposal. I urge you to support this motion, let us engage in a wide consultation on this charging order, and keep Bath and North East Somerset at the forefront of improving air quality for our residents.”


Cllr Sarah Warren seconded the motion and made the following statement:



“As the Cabinet heard in July, we have seen significant reductions in nitrogen dioxide levels both inside and outside the Clean Air Zone, since its introduction in March 2021, and in almost all locations in Bath we are now seeing nitrogen dioxide within the legal level of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre. Cabinet pledged last winter that we would be more ambitious on air quality and look to go beyond legal levels. I am delighted that this evening we are taking another step in that direction with this paper, which looks to develop charging mechanisms for HGVs. I am happy to second the proposals.”


Cllr Dine Romero stated that there have been concerns regarding the impact of the Clean Air Zone and closure of Cleveland Bridge.  She welcomed the proposals set out in 3.9 of the report. 


Cllr Samuel stated that Walcot residents would welcome the proposal and that it is important to keep the momentum going.


RESOLVED (unanimously):


(1)  To note the work completed to assess the feasibility and the highlighted risks of introducing a charge appropriate for the benefit of air quality and the amenity of the charging scheme area (including the Grade II* Cleveland Bridge) and the wider Bath World Heritage Site setting.

(2)  To agree that a public consultation, involving key stakeholders as appropriate, is undertaken on the introduction of a charge for Class N3 Euro VI diesel HGVs (HGVs over 12 tonnes) together with associated local exemptions being proposed to mitigate any impact on local businesses and the economy of the wider area.

(3)  As this proposal is distinct from the CAZ charges and outside the scope of the national Clean Air Zone Framework, to note the need for the development of local payment processes based upon those created for the CAZ scheme, as central government systems will not be available for use.  This will require keepers of chargeable Class N3 Euro VI diesel HGVs to divert to the Council’s website to make payment through a separate payment portal, locally created for these vehicles.

(4)  To delegate to the Director of Place Management (in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Transport), the decision to vary the Order according to the scheme outputs and the feedback received from the public consultation period and implement the scheme with minor variations as required.

Supporting documents: