So, this feels like a really proud day for Bath. Today, after more than three years of preparation, we will become the first UK city outside London to bring in a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ), reducing nitrogen dioxide pollution and protecting the health of all our residents.
Despite Bath’s association with health for thousands of years, due to the historic use of the spa’s thermal waters as a cure for all manner of ailments, the city’s geography means it has long suffered from air pollution. This accumulates in the city centre, trapped by the surrounding hills, and the main source of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide gas, which the CAZ will address, is from motor exhaust.
We know that people who live in areas with more motor traffic suffer more ill-health, including lung and heart ailments, and poor mental health. When air quality is poor, within a few hours we see increased admissions to hospital with worsened lung and heart conditions.
So it’s great news that Bath will be taking this vital measure to boost public health by charging the most highly polluting commercial traffic to enter our World Heritage City, and by providing businesses with financial support to upgrade vehicles. (Private cars and motorbikes will not be charged.)
Alongside this important scheme, we are pursuing policies to provide viable alternatives to the motor vehicle: for example, our live consultation on active travel routes around the city; our Liveable Neighbourhoods policy approved late last year; our ongoing e-scooter trial; and our plans to boost e-cargo-bike delivery.
Our aspiration over the coming years is for Bath to become an exemplar of sustainable transport in a heritage setting, and Monday’s CAZ launch marks a big step along the route.
For further details and to find out whether your vehicle is affected by the CAZ, take a look at the council’s CAZ webpage: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathCAZ
Read more about Bath's CAZ.