Bath Voice News: clean air zone lowers pollution in the city

Pollution News: Bath’s air quality has improved since the introduction of the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in 2021 to new report has confirmed.
The BBC’s Clara Bullock reported: “The government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) said that Bath’s air pollution levels had dropped to within legal limits, following the launch of the CAZ in 2021.
“The report confirms nitrogen dioxide concentrations had decreased by 22%. It said during 2021, there were no breaches of the annual mean nitrogen dioxide limit.”
It was feared at the time that drivers would use the outskirts of the city as rat runs to avoid the CAZ but it appears that concern has not come to pass.
One aspect of CAZ that has put a smile on the face of the Council’s bank manager is the extra £3.3m it raised last year from fines and fees.

Photo: Ellie Maher of the Bath Green Party by one of the signs on the day the CAZ began.

During Business Questions on the 16th of November, Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, commended Bath & North East Somerset Council for the success of the city’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ).   

In her question to the Leader of the House, Mrs Hobhouse praised the superb efforts by the council to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions by over a quarter in Bath. This is thanks to the city’s clean air zone which was introduced in March 2021.  

The lung health charity Asthma + Lung UK have described nitrogen dioxide as one of the most dangerous pollutants to human health. According to the Royal College of Physicians, over 40,000 people diein the UK each year as a result of polluted air. The Bath MP applauded the life-saving reduction in emissions and asked the Leader of the House to support other local councils across the country to follow in Bath’s footsteps. She then asked for a debate in government time to address the importance of clean air and local council support.  

In response, Penny Mordaunt acknowledged that there were areas around the country where air pollution needed improvement and gave her assurances that local authorities would be enabled to address this. Mordaunt also recognised the need for a debate on clean air and the benefit of sharing best practice, such as learning from the success of the CAZ in Bath.   

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, commented:  

“Air pollution is an invisible killer. Bath’s Clean Air Zone, having reduced nitrogen dioxide emissions substantially, is already paving the way to saving lives. It is an impressive achievement by Bath’s Liberal Democrat-run council. 

“The Clean Air Zone is the first of its kind outside of London, and it is vital that we learn from, and replicate, its success across the country.” 

Councillor Sarah Warren, Bath & North East Somerset Council deputy Leader and cabinet member for Climate Emergency and Sustainable Travel, said:  

“It is pleasing to see the improvement in air quality both in and around Bath. This is great news for the health of residents and visitors. We’ve worked hard to reduce pollution both inside and outside the CAZ and the data indicates the measures we’ve taken are working. I particularly want to thank those drivers and businesses who’ve made the switch to a cleaner, greener vehicle. Clearly, though, there’s no room for complacency and we will continue to work to improve people’s health by driving down pollution levels. Cities across the country can learn from our positive experience to adopt plans to improve air quality for their residents.”