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FOLLOWING a decision by Bath and North East Somerset Council’s (BANES) Cabinet to move forward with proposals to charge diesel heavy good vehicles (HGVs) over 12 tonnes from using the A36 Cleveland Bridge in Bath, Wiltshire Council has reiterated its strong objections to the plans.
Wiltshire Council reports, “While the decision doesn’t necessarily mean that the proposals will go ahead, it does instruct BANES officers to work on the proposals “subject to undertaking further feasibility work and being able to develop and implement a workable scheme”.
“If the plans went ahead, the Bath Clean Air Zone (CAZ) would be amended to include diesel-powered vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes having to pay a charge to enter the CAZ, including Cleveland Bridge. This would send additional HGVs on to Wiltshire roads, increasing traffic volumes and adversely affecting air quality in West Wiltshire towns and villages.”
Leader of Wiltshire Council, cllr Richard Clewer, said, “We’re extremely disappointed that BANES’ Cabinet has agreed to proceed with these proposals to charge HGVs over 12 tonnes from using the A36 at Cleveland Bridge. We will continue to fight these plans using every means necessary and will now consider our next steps.
“It is positive that they have agreed to engage with ourselves and other stakeholders; the solution to regional traffic issues needs to be discussed through collaborative working with all local authorities in the south west and National Highways. This unilateral proposal is not the answer, as it would simply move the problem rather than solving it, by pushing HGV traffic from BANES into our West Wiltshire communities.
“We believe that National Highways’ M4 to Dorset Coast Strategic study, which is due in summer 2022, will offer resolution to many of the region’s highways issues, and we look forward to working with neighbouring authorities to achieve the study’s aims. We will formally oppose these plans at every step possible and keep standing up for our towns, villages and communities in West Wiltshire.”
Wiltshire Councillor for Westbury East, cllr Gordon King, said, “I am resolutely opposed to charging for HGVs to use Cleveland Bridge, as these vehicles would then be sent through West Wiltshire towns on the A350.
“I understand and support the benefits of a Clean Air Zone in Bath, but simply sending these vehicles into Wiltshire doesn’t solve the issue – it just moves the problem elsewhere.
“We need to work together to find a regional solution that works for both Bath and Wiltshire.”