Bath Voice: hikes in parking a diesel car in Bath on the agenda as council seeks to further cut pollution

By John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporter: All Parking charges across Bath are set to change and new rates will be based on the harmful emissions certain vehicles produce.

The new charges will hit everyone who drives a diesel car and anyone with a non-diesel car which emits more than 131g of CO2 per kilometre, with the price of parking based on vehicle pollutants or engine size.
People driving electric vehicles or non-diesel vehicles below the threshold will escape the rise but analysis by Bath and North East Somerset Council, which is implementing the scheme, suggests 66% of people who use the city’s car parks will pay more.

The council estimates it will make £225k a year from the increased charges, which are planned to go live in September, subject to a traffic regulation order consultation.

Emissions-based pricing is already used for residents parking permits and rolling it out across car parks was included in the council’s budget, passed in February.

Now new details have been revealed in a council report, set to go before the council’s Climate Emergency and Sustainability Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel this month.

The report states: “The introduction of emission-based charging aims to improve the safety of vulnerable people within the community by improving air quality and reducing congestion so those with more polluting vehicles pay more and are encouraged to change behaviours to make other travel choices where alternatives exist.”
In 2021, Bath was the first city in the UK after London to introduce a clean air zone after it was directed by the government to reduce air pollution in the city.

New signs will be installed at pay and display car parks, with draft versions stating that a two hour stay will cost “£3.40 up to £4.60.” The top rate will be for diesel vehicles producing more than 225g of CO2 per kilometre.
But foreign registered vehicles will also have to pay the top rate. Information about your engine will be sourced through DVLA lookup and it is proposed vehicles not registered with the DVLA — such as foreign registered cars — will have to pay the top rate, regardless of what their emissions actually are.

If the DVLA servers cannot be reached due to a system issue, all cars will be charged the lower rate.
The price increases are only planned for the council’s car parks within the city centre, not at any of the city’s three park and rides or at Odd Down Coach Park.

An online consultation on the scheme will be held during July.
Car parking charges in Bath were most recently increased in November, when they went up by 10p an hour, which was only the second increase in 12 years.

Season tickets for car parks were increased dramatically at the same time, with a 7-days-a-week season ticket for the Charlotte Street car park going from £1,633 a year to £4,056.

Come September, that ticket could cost £5,172 for the most polluting diesel vehicles. Citing previous press coverage of the cost of this ticket, the council stated that the increased cost will initially be limited to new customers.

The report said: “Customers that currently purchase season tickets, and where their account shows a valid season ticket at the date of the proposals being implemented, can continue to purchase their existing season ticket at current charges for 12 months after the emission-based charges launch to help them plan and adjust to the new charges, for example to consider alternative options or the purchase of a lower emission vehicle.”

The season tickets will now also be tied to the specific vehicle, in line with how residents parking permits work.
Season ticket holders changing their car will be able to use their season ticket with a less polluting vehicle for a £10 administration fee, but will need to buy a new season ticket if they get a more polluting vehicle.
Picture: Avon Street car park

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The journalists are funded by the BBC as part of its latest Charter commitment, but are employed by regional news organisations. A total of 165 reporters are allocated to news organisations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland including Bath Voice. These organisations range from television and radio stations to online media companies and established regional newspaper groups. Local Democracy Reporters cover top-tier local authorities, second-tier local authorities and other public service organisations.

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