Clean air events to ‘help Bath breathe’

The first set of events for people to find out more about plans for a Clean Air Zone for Bath – including charging high-emission vehicles to drive into the city centre – are being held during April.

Two public events have been lined up by Bath and North East Somerset Council with lots more being planned over the coming months.

A council spokesperson said the authority had been asked to “take urgent action” to reduce harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in the city.

It has since 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.

The spokesperson added: “No decisions have been made at this time but the council is legally bound to reach a decision on a preferred package of measures by December and it is seeking people’s views.

“Over the coming months each package of measures will be examined in detail and this includes ongoing public engagement, identifying the level of charges, hours of operation and assessing the social and economic impacts of each measure.”

Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, said the council had to address NO2 levels by 2021 at the latest.

He added: “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 effect on residents and the economy within the deadline to reduce NO2.

“But we cannot do this alone. We are now starting a series of events where we want to continue working with residents, businesses and other organisations to develop a package of measures that is in the best interests of the city. It is important that people embrace this and help achieve sustainable improvements for future generations.”

The first public drop-in event is on 9 April from 16:00 to 19:00 – people are welcome to pop along to an information stand at the bottom of Milsom Street, Bath and find out more.

There is also a public surgery in the Guildhall, Bath on 18 April from 15:00 to 19:00 – anyone wishing to attend this event needs to book a space by 12:00 on 16 April via the “Get Involved” section of the Bath & North East Somerset Council website.

Councillor Mark Shelford, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “We want to talk to people not just about the charging element but also about more sustainable ways to travel across Bath and the wider area.

“I would encourage people to come along to our free events. There will be more arranged over the coming months and the details will be on our website and in newsletters.”