First Clean Air Zone launches in Bath city centre
The first Clean Air Zone in England (outside London) launched in the city centre of Bath today, operated by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
Clean Air Zones (CAZs) – designed to improve air quality within a defined geographic area of a city centre – are a new type of scheme (outside London), where local authorities will charge certain vehicles not meeting a specified Euro standard for being used within the zone.
What vehicles will be affected?
In the Bath CAZ, this will include buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans and minibuses. The next CAZ, launching in Birmingham on 1 June (operated by Birmingham City Council), will include the charging of private cars.
Signage on roads in and around the zone, showing a white cloud symbol within a green circle, will indicate that a CAZ scheme is in operation. A letter A–D will also be included on the symbol (see images below), denoting the types of vehicle that will be charged>>.
How do I find out if my vehicle is liable and pay?
Motorists can check if their vehicle’s emissions mean they will face a charge for being used in a CAZ at a central GOV.UK Drive in a Clean Air Zone service>>. Charges for using a vehicle in a CAZ are also paid to the GOV.UK service, not to the local authority operating the zone, either:
- up to six days in advance of, or
- no later than six days after (by 11.59pm on the sixth day) using a vehicle in a zone.
A central telephone helpdesk and payments line is also available on 0300 029 8888 (Mon–Fri, 8am to 4.30pm).
When do charges apply and what happens if I don’t pay?
The charges for the Bath CAZ apply daily, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from midnight to midnight. So, a vehicle entering the zone at 11pm and leaving at 1am the next morning would need to pay two daily charges.
Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) of £120 will be issued for each day a non-compliant vehicle is used in a CAZ and payment is not made on time.
Motorists who disagree with a PCN have the right to make representations to the local authority that issued the penalty. If those representations are unsuccessful, an appeal can be submitted to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal>>.
Exemptions apply – both on a national level (e.g. emergency service vehicles) and locally (e.g. community transport providers) – as do local discounts. Motorists should check if they are eligible with the local authority operating the scheme.