Pe­nalise worst hit ar­eas and times

Western Daily Press - - Opinion -

THE re­sponses to Bath’s clean air zone fall along pre­dictable lines.

Air quality is cer­tainly a big is­sue, so is car­bon-in­tense car ex­haust in gen­eral. We have all seen the lat­est still more ur­gent warn­ings from cli­mate science – and there still is time to do some­thing. But we need to do some­thing se­ri­ous, not pre­tend.

The mi­nor­ity of peo­ple who have old cars be­cause they can only af­ford old cars are also those who are go­ing to be dam­aged be­cause it’s harder to cross town when it will cost them an ex­tra £9 – whereas a queue of diesel BMWs is still a queue of pol­lut­ing cars no mat­ter how old they are.

Bath is a rich city and a lot of its cars will be new enough by 2020.

Lon­don will have a clean air zone shortly, but has had a con­ges­tion charge for years now, and hasn’t be­come a ghost town: I’d sug­gest Bath needs to do that first.

Pe­nalise the times and lo­ca­tions that suf­fer the worst, make the lazy school run an ex­cep­tion not the gen­eral rule, and do some­thing to force the long-dis­tance through lorry traf­fic (I cy­cle or walk via Cleve­land Place twice a day, I know all about that) onto the mo­tor­way sys­tem where it be­longs – that was built for them, whereas the A36 was not.

The area needs to have a proper bus ser­vice, and other pub­lic trans­port devel­op­ments. And as some­one who works in arts and en­ter­tain­ment I’d pre­fer it if you didn’t do any­thing that would dam­age the night-time econ­omy.

Why hasn’t this hap­pened al­ready? Be­cause those are not tar­gets that a Tory coun­cil would coun­te­nance, but they’re happy to pre­tend at a so­lu­tion that has a side­swipe that will dam­age poorer res­i­dents and in­de­pen­dent busi­nesses.

Our im­me­di­ate health, our longterm en­vi­ron­ment, as well as our historic her­itage de­mand that we prop­erly re­duce traf­fic now, not just up­date the prob­lems. Steve Hen­wood


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