The amended plans announced today (5 March 2019) by Bath & North East Somerset Council for a Clean Air Zone in Bath will directly impede the work of the region’s business community. Chris Yarsley, Policy Manager for the South West at FTA, the organisation representing the logistics sector, commented:
“A Class C charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is the very worst option for local businesses in Bath and the regional economy; FTA is perplexed as to why Bath & North East Somerset Council decided to exclude private cars and place the heavy financial burden of improving the city’s air quality on commercial vehicle operators. This decision is tantamount to a stealth tax on the hard-working local businesses and vehicle operators which already contribute so much to the public purse and help keep Bath functioning by delivering the goods and services supermarkets, schools, and other businesses need operate. FTA is also disappointed that the size of Zone will be extended to encompass areas within the east of the city, bringing even more businesses under its scope. This Zone will not just affect those delivering into Bath, but any operators using the A36 to go west or south.”
Yarsley continued: “CAZs are not the most effective way to improve air quality; other solutions can deliver a better outcome in a quicker time frame, without damaging the local economy. The Bath & North East Somerset Council would be better placed to concentrate on traffic management and encourage the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, instead of implementing a scheme that would cost businesses and damage the local economy. However, if it is convinced that it must implement a charging Zone, the Council must take all steps available to mitigate its damage to local business, for example, by ensuring the size of the Zone is as small as possible, and major industrial areas exempted.
“FTA is also dismayed that while several measures are being considered to help private drivers reduce their need to drive into the city – such as improved park and rides and cycling facilities – commercial vehicle operators will be left picking up the bill for this investment, as private car drivers will not be contributing to the funding that will be made available via the CAZ charge.”
Higher emission (pre-Euro VI) buses, coaches and HGV will be charged £100 to enter the Zone, and higher emission (pre-Euro 6 for diesel and pre-Euro 4 for petrol) LGVs/vans, private hire vehicles and taxis will be charged £9.
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.
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