The Clean Air Zone explained
The first of a slight flurry of posts – hold onto your seats! A happier new year to all readers.
As these red early warning signs get revealed the residents’ association is getting a number of enquiries about what this means for Camden residents. Last month an A5 flyer was delivered too. Hopefully this blogpost will put people’s minds at rest.
If you watch this short video from the Council you should get a an idea of what is in store on March 15th next year. There’s one ambiguous bit near the start where a distinction is being drawn between ‘cars’ and ‘vehicles’. Anyone driving a car is quite unaffected by this scheme.
Here’s a map of the inner city ‘clean air zone’. As a driver, whichever way you want to enter the zone you will always have to go through one of the boundary points. For drivers coming and going north and east will be confronted with boundary points on Lansdown Road, Camden Road or London Road which we’ve highlighted with arrows. (If you got out a magnifying glass you could see that the boundary has been mis-drawn on Camden Road – it is nearer Gay’s Hill – not adjacent to St Stephen’s Road. Later versions have this corrected).
Anyone driving a standard car, resident or not, will not be impeded in any way and there will be no charge. Because of the way the rules work, it will be just drivers of larger vehicles who will have to consider whether to enter the zone and get charged or not. Even if they do, they have seven days to pay.
Why is the Council adopting this scheme; only the third scheme to be introduced to a city into this country? The answer is to expedite the general reduction in exhaust pollution by charging drivers of the highest polluting vehicles to enter the zone. There are several pollution hotspots in the city which the CAZ plan should address.
There is some concern from residents on Belgrave Crescent that drivers who will get to the boundary will backtrack down their road. If this happens at all it should be negligible for three main reasons:
- The CAZ will only affect drivers of larger vehicles, not cars, of which there are relatively few,
- Reaching the CAZ boundary before deciding not to proceed and then finding there is no alternative to turning round will be a ‘one off’ experience for a driver,
- They are far more likely to carry on and pay the daily charge.
Unfortunately for Camden, as a whole, it will have virtually no effect on traffic levels and air pollution as most of the traffic is made up of cars and buses which remain unimpeded. It is for this reason that the CRA has been putting all its efforts into campaigning for our area to become a ‘Liveable Neighbourhood’, which is another, more recent, council scheme and will be trialled in several parts of Bath soon. As yet, we do not know whether we will be successful in our bid. To add weight to our campaign do please sign up here and join the other 158 people believing in the same cause. To find out more about Liveable Neighbourhoods please click here.
We hope this has been helpful in allaying fears for residents in March next year and provided a pointer to something much more hopeful for residents living and owning cars, or for anyone walking and cycling through Camden in the future.
For residents of Belgrave Crescent committee member, Rachel Demuth, and I have gone through this in a lot of detail and have eventually arrived at the same conclusion.
Jeremy Labram, Chair