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THE decision on the controversial proposal to introduce charges for a ‘clean air zone’ in Bath has been delayed until March.
The cabinet of Bath & North East Somerset Council (BNES) was due to make a decision on the proposal last month, but this was postponed because of the high number of responses the council received during the consultation.
The consultation asked people to comment on the proposal to introduce a daily charge from the end of next year for driving through the centre of Bath to help BNES meet their target from the Government to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air by 2021.
Charges would apply to vehicles that do not meet the Government’s minimum emission standards – £9 a day for cars, taxis and LGVs/vans and £100 a day for buses, coaches and HGVs.
The proposal sparked concern in the Melksham community that if implemented, the ‘charging clear air zone’ could encourage north/south traffic that does not meet minimum emission standards to use the A350 instead, to avoid Bath, increasing traffic and pollution in the town.
Concern was also raised for the impact it could have on Melksham patients of Bath’s Royal United Hospital. Patients using the A4 London Road or A36 to access the city, would face a charge of £9 if their vehicle does not meet the minimum emission standards.
A spokesperson from BNES said, “The proposal was open to public consultation until 26 November 2018 and a final report and decision by Cabinet was due on 18 December.
“Unfortunately we’ve had to review this timeline to give proper consideration to the unprecedented high number of consultation responses we’ve received, and to do further technical work. We aim to produce an updated report in March.
“Meanwhile we’d like to thank everyone who took part for their valuable feedback.”