Last reviewed 12 October 2020

Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is set to launch on 15 March 2021 as the first charging CAZ in England outside of London.

Reacting to the news, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) said that it was disappointed that Bath and North East Somerset Council had decided to press ahead with it called the “controversial plans”.

The Association pointed out that working vehicles – vans, lorries, taxis, private hire and buses – that do not meet Euro 6/VI standards will be charged to enter the zone but private cars will be exempt.

The zone takes in sections of the A4 and A36 which are key freight routes in the region, effectively, the RHA complained, turning them into toll booths for through-traffic not destined for Bath.

Its spokesman for the environment, Chris Ashley, criticised officials for applying “outmoded thinking” to improve air quality.

He said: “Better ways exist to achieve the clean air we all want. Hauliers have invested £1.9bn in clean lorries that has seen NOx pollution levels from HGVs fall by around 60% since 2013. The council must snap out of the negative and reactive mindset that penalises vehicles that do not conform to highly restrictive bureaucratic criteria and instead, look at measures other councils such as Leeds are taking to reduce pollution.”

The Clean Air Zone was due to be switched on in November but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The council has advised drivers affected by charges to check its website at www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathCAZ for a list of local exemptions and to see if they might be eligible for financial support to upgrade their vehicle or fleet.

For example, eligible van drivers could stand to receive up to £4500 in grants, plus interest-free finance, to help them upgrade to a similar, compliant vehicle. Larger grants are available of up to £20,000 for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and £35,000 for buses and coaches.