Penalise worst hit areas and times
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