Somerset

Cars will not be charged to drive into Bath city centre

The Circus, Bath Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Circus is due to be inside the proposed clean air zone

Car drivers will not have to pay to enter Bath's clean air zone after plans were thrown out by councillors.

Bath and North East Somerset Council had proposed to charge all higher emission vehicles £9 to enter the city centre from 2020.

Instead taxis, buses, coaches, lorries and vans will pay the levy in a bid to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels by 2021 as part of a government directive.

The council has been approached for a comment.

It had voted on two options for charging; class D which would have charged all higher emission vehicles, including cars, to drive in the city centre and class C, which excluded polluting cars from the fee.

Bath is one of 61 towns and cities in the UK which exceed national limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), according to government figures.

The council said the plans would have a "positive" effect on air quality.

Councillor Bob Goodman said: "It has taken many months to reach this point and it has not been easy however I believe we have struck the right balance and are now in a position to start to cut harmful pollutants and make our beautiful city clean and green for everyone."

And Mark Shelford, cabinet member for transport and environment, added the decision was "crucially important".

Image copyright BANES Council
Image caption The Clean Air Zone is subject to a successful bid for funds from the Government

A £100 charge is also to be levied at commercial vehicles entering the charge area within 5m (8km) of the World Heritage Site centre.

Proposals are designed to be a penalty for larger vehicles with high NO2 emissions - those that do not comply with a Euro Six engine standard.

There are an estimated 29,000 deaths annually in the UK from air pollution.

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