Bath & North East Somertset Council

Why we need a zone

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Why we need a zone

The UK has legislation to ensure that certain standards of air quality are met.

The legal limit for concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - caused mainly by diesel and older petrol vehicles - is 40 μg/m3 as an annual mean.

Several places in Bath currently exceed this limit - a situation which is unacceptable to the council because of the health impacts linked to this type of air pollution.

In Bath and North East Somerset, around 12,000 people suffer from asthma, and high concentrations of NO2 can trigger attacks. 

The latest research indicates that in the UK, between 1 in 4 and 1 in 12 new cases of asthma in chidren each year are atributable to NO2, and that 74% of these cases are attributable to NO2 occur in urban areas.

Over the longer term, high levels of NO2 contribute to reduced lung development in children and are linked to the increased possibility of heart attacks and dementia in older people.

In 2017, the government directed us to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in the city in the shortest possible time. It’s providing all of the funds for us to do this and the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) is independently verifying all of the work being done.

Our technical work has shown that a charging zone is the only measure that can achieve compliance in the time frame - effectively deterring the majority of higher emission vehicles from driving in a zone by levying a charge.

Following a public consultation in Oct/Nov 2018, the council agreed to introduce a class C charging CAZ, charging all higher emission vehicles, except cars, to drive in Bath’s city centre from late 2020. 

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