Bath has introduced a £9 tariff for vehicles that fail to comply with acceptable modern levels of emission when they access certain areas of the city. This designation will cover many older petrol cars and some newer diesel ones. Critics and locals have spoken against the move, claiming it will hit people struggling financially and force traffic into areas just outside the zone.
The city has high levels of pollution which are caused largely by its topography and geographical location. In a number of Bath’s areas, the NO2 exceeds the legal limit and the people of Banes claim that it poses a significant health risk to the 12,000 asthma sufferers in the area.
Cllr Bob Goodman, cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, recognised that the proposition has not gone down well with many of Bath’s residents but that the council has been mandated by the government to tackle the situation.
He said at a consultation event: “It may sound draconian but we have to take action. The government has mandated us to reduce the NO2 levels. We have to do that.”
He added that the council will offer help to drivers to change their vehicles to more compliant ones and that exemptions would be made for people with disability and their caregivers.
“There are many people who have non-compliant vehicles who are adamantly against it but we will help them,” he said. “I’m not going to let our kids suffer from pollution and asthma.”