What price fresh air?

Ian Bell
Executive Director of Bath Chamber of Commerce and Initiative | Business West
30th April 2018

Levels of emissions along the London Road to the east of Bath have got so bad that the Council is considering creating a Clean Air Zone, charging different categories of vehicles for driving through. 

Three options are up for discussion, a decision is to be made by December and the new rules will come into play in 2020. Heavy Goods vehicles are first in the firing line but a variety of other vehicles could also be scooped into the net.

I think there will be broad consensus that it is absolutely right to find ways to reduce emissions and improve air quality. But I would be very interested to hear what business people think is the best way of achieving it and what impact they believe the imposition of a Clean Air Zone will have on the local economy in Bath. 

Deliveries will still have to be made and staff and customers will need and want to drive into the centre of Bath. It’s fine for people who have a choice and who can find a different way of travelling, though of course they don’t have a choice of parking and riding when approaching from the east. But what about those who don’t have a choice? The cost of deliveries will presumably increase and that will be passed on to the business and potentially their customers. 

At the same time vehicles are getting cleaner, a process being advanced by researchers at the University of Bath among others. We are seeing ever more electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads so technology is already impacting on the level of emissions. It will be a matter of opinion as to whether a Clean Air Zone will speed up progress on clean vehicle technology or whether there is already so much momentum that science will press on at its own pace irrespective of road charging.

Please do let me know your views.

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