Clean air zone charges 'a disaster for hauliers' says Road Haulage Association

The Road Haulage Association has criticised Bath and North East Somerset Council’s recently unveiled plans to charge some hauliers GBP100 per day to enter a proposed Bath clean air zone.

As part of a proposed Clean Air Zone, B&NES Council plans to target pre-Euro VI diesel trucks with a GBP100 daily charge, in a bid to reduce emissions in the city, after being told by Government to take urgent action to reduce dangerous nitrogen dioxide levels. Part of the proposed zone takes in a section of the A36, a primary route used by many hauliers through the region.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said: “This will be a disaster for hauliers operating in the region. Not only is the council targeting firms delivering in Bath but they’re punishing companies who use the A36 to move goods elsewhere too.” “The A36 is a significant route connecting Somerset with other parts of the country, but the GBP100 charges will see lorries displaced along local roads less suited to freight traffic.

“It’s clear that the local authority has no understanding about how the supply chain works,” he continued. “You can’t just make it prohibitive for lorries to use a major route and hope there won’t be consequences.” He has warned that operators of pre-Euro VI trucks avoiding the charges will incur extra miles and hours they can’t absorb. No decisions have yet been made, but the council is legally bound to reach a decision by December and it is seeking people’s views on proposed charges which would see a GBP9 per day charge for higher emission, non-compliant cars, taxis and LGVs/vans, and GBP100 per day charge for higher emission, non-compliant buses, coaches and HGVs.

Councillor Bob Goodman, Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods, said: “Like many councils up and down the country we have to address NO2 levels which are harmful to people’s health, and we’re being told by the Government do to that in the shortest possible time. “This would mean the introduction of a Clean Air Charging Zone by late 2020. There is no doubt this proposal would have an impact on residents driving higher emission vehicles and businesses, and we want to strike a balance with a package that can deliver clean air as soon as possible, while supporting residents and businesses in making the transition to a cleaner, greener local economy.

“We cannot achieve this alone. If people want to see sustainable health improvements for future generations, we have to consider this option which would bring about a reduction in harmful emissions and along with other measures help make Bath a clean and green city. “The consultation over the next few weeks is on a Class D CAZ alongside a range of exemptions, concessions and supporting measures designed to help groups particularly impacted by the proposals.

“We will then assess the feedback from this consultation before making a final decision.”

More information, including online questionnaires, can be found online at www.bathnes.gov.uk/breathe.

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