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Bath seeks views on air pollution plans

Bath and North East Somerset Council is working with residents, business and other organisations to develop a package of measures to cut air pollution, which could see vehicles charged for entering Bath city centre.

Traffic jam

The council is one of 27 required to submit air quality plans on how to cut air pollution in the shortest possible time.

As part of the government’s air quality plans, the council – along with 27 other authorities – is required to take action to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide levels in the city in the shortest possible time and by 2021 at the latest.

From an initial list of more than 60 suggestions, the council has drawn up a shortlist of three packages of measures which are capable of reducing vehicle emissions and bringing about the required improvement by the 2021 deadline. All three include a clean air charging zone in the centre of Bath alongside a range of other measures to encourage greener modes of travel.

Details about costs, charging hours and which groups of high-emission vehicles will be affected will be modelled and considered following a series of public events being held over the coming months.

The council is seeking views on the options and how they could best be introduced in order to maximise the air quality benefits, while minimising any effects of residents and economy, particularly on low income families and businesses. Suggestions include reduced cost of residents’ parking permits for low-emission vehicles; improved public transport facilities; better walking and cycling routes and making the bus lane on London Road permanent.

Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, said: “We want to strike a balance with a package that can deliver the most benefit to local people in terms of improved air quality, with the least impact on residents and the economy within the deadline to reduce NO2.

“If our residents, businesses and visitors embrace these changes to encourage low emission vehicles or the use of alternative ways to get into the city centre we can expect to see sustainable improvements for future generations.”

To find out more go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.