Bath clean air zone to go ahead – missed opportunity to build back better, says RHA

8th October 2020

The Road Haulage Association is disappointed that Bath & North East Somerset Council is pressing ahead with controversial plans to charge vehicles to enter the city next year.

Working vehicles – vans, lorries, taxis, private hire and buses – that don’t meet Euro 6/VI standards will be charged to enter a clean air zone from 15 March 2021.

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

But the RHA’s 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 percent since 2013. 

“Bath & North East Somerset 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. 

“Nationally, we urge policymakers to work with industry to define standards and the policy certainty that firms need to invest in green vehicles. It is the consistent improvement of standards over time that has driven the large falls in pollution.

“At a time when unemployment is soaring and businesses continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic this is a missed opportunity to help the region’s firms build back better.”

‘Green recovery’ ambitions must be sustainable and driven by sensible policies that nurture economic growth, he added.