FTA complains at Clean Bath

Once again the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has complained that clean air could damage the economy – this time with the Regency city of Bath which is planning a Clean Air Zone.

The FTA released a statement last week saying that it “recognises that work must be done to improve the state of the nation’s air quality” and it welcomes the Bath & North East Somerset Council’s decision to proposing a city centre zone. However, FTA was concerned that “key local routes – the A4 and A36 – are included, and so the impacts will be felt well beyond the city”.

FTA’s Head of UK Policy Christopher Snelling commented: “When the proposed Zone comes into effect in 2020, many logistics operators, especially small and medium sized firms, will still have non-compliant vehicles and so will face charges of around £100 per day to get through Bath.

“The effects will be worse if vans are included, which is one of the options. There will only be four years’ worth of compliant vans in the fleet, so any small business that relies on second-hand vehicles in operate in or through Bath maybe priced out of business.”

The FTA concluded, “FTA is offering its experience and expertise to work with the local authority, to help them develop and introduce its plan in a timely and appropriate manner, so that they can achieve their aims of reducing NO2 whilst supporting businesses and the economy.”

In its own statement on the subject (also issued on Friday), the Bath & North East Somerset Council said that it has “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 Council statement continued: “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, the cabinet member for development and neighbourhoods, commented: “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 meeting took place on the 9th April. On the 18th April there will be a public surgery at the Guildhall from 1500-1900. Those who wish to attend needs to book a space by midday on Monday 16th April via the the “Get Involved” section of the website: www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe