1. Sustainability
  2. Pollution
September 7, 2023

Emission-based parking charges to drive cleaner air in Bath

Emission-based parking charges will be introduced at various car parks throughout the city of Bath.

By City Monitor Staff

In a move aimed at tackling air pollution and improving air quality, Bath & North East Somerset Council is set to implement vehicle emission-based parking charges in council-owned car parks throughout the city starting tomorrow, 8 September.

bath parking
A car is parked on the Grade 1 listed Circus on in Bath, England. The historic city of Bath has a Clean Air Zone already in place. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

This initiative reflects the council’s commitment to making Bath a greener and healthier place to live and visit. By introducing variable parking charges based on vehicle emissions in Bath, the council hopes to incentivise motorists to opt for cleaner alternatives when coming to the city centre. This includes promoting the use of Park & Ride facilities and encouraging public transportation, walking, cycling and wheeling.

The new charging structure will not impact all motorists equally. Instead, it targets vehicles with higher emissions, aiming to discourage the use of more polluting cars in the city centre. The pricing will be determined according to the bands used for DVLA vehicle exercise duty, with non-diesel vehicles emitting below 131g/km of CO2 facing no price increase. In contrast, owners of more polluting vehicles, particularly diesel ones, will see their parking costs rise in Bath.

Bath parking set to tackle vehicle emissions

To make the process convenient for visitors and residents, the council will provide information on how to check vehicle emissions on the government’s website. However, it’s important to note that motorists do not need to know their vehicle emissions or engine size when paying for parking in Bath. The council’s new approach aims to strike a balance between environmental responsibility and user-friendliness.

The council states that public sentiment played a crucial role in this decision. In a recent public consultation conducted by the council, more than half of the 1,692 responses expressed concerns about air quality and urged the council to take more substantial action against air pollution.

Councillor Manda Rigby, the cabinet member for transport, emphasised, “Prices won’t change for a lot of drivers; these new charges will only affect people bringing more polluting vehicles into our city. Our overall aim is to improve public safety by enhancing air quality and reducing congestion.”

Rigby further highlighted the health impact of air pollution, noting that it causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK annually. The new charges align with the council’s ambitions to achieve net-zero emissions and build upon the progress made by the Clean Air Zone.

While the emission-based charging structure will also extend to car park season tickets, existing season ticket holders will not experience an immediate increase in price for the first 12 months. Additionally, the council will continue to offer free parking at its three Park & Ride sites for those using the bus service, encouraging greater use of public transportation and reducing vehicular traffic within the city. Discounts and concessions will be available to further encourage the use of these sustainable alternatives.

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In a bid to promote compliance with the new system, foreign-registered vehicles and those not registered with the DVLA will be subject to the highest parking charges for their chosen duration, further promoting the use of Park and Ride sites and adherence to legal requirements.

Emission-based parking charges will be introduced at various car parks throughout Bath, including Avon Street, Bath Sports & Leisure Centre, Cattlemarket, Charlotte Street, Claverton Street, Green Park Road, Kingsmead Square and Manvers Street.

[Read more: City planners are questioning the point of parking garages]

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