Disappointingly, representatives of just five residents associations, out of 29, managed to attend a workshop run by the Council’s BreATHe2021 project team on 19th April about the proposed Clean Air Zone.
Better news is that 50% of those attendees were from Camden Residents Association! We could have monopolised the occasion but we listened and learned from the others and ensured we got across our points.
Subsequently many of us have written back at length with our feedback which we’ll make available very soon.
Some helpful Qs and As might be:
- What is special about this?
This is a well funded government-backed project with well over 50 people working on it, which the Council is law-bound to make succeed, in cleaning up the air on London Road particularly to EU standards (more on this is available here). It is now seen as the best opportunity for real progress in 20 years.
- What is a CAZ?
A Clean Air Zone will restrict access to heavily polluting vehicles by charging the drivers each time they enter a small zone in and around the city centre. If they transgress then number plate recognition will pick them up and they will be fined.
- How will that help Camden?
Residents in wider areas of the city including Camden, which could be right on the border, should benefit from breathing cleaner air and seeing less highly polluting vehicles on the streets. Travelling to and from school particularly needs addressing: to break the vicious circle of too many cars making it unsafe (poor air quality and the risk of injury) to walk or cycle to school with the result that many drive their children to school.
- How will that help Bath?
Many of us hope that the CAZ, when up and running, will persuade the majority of people in Bath that we should do yet more to improve the experience of those living, working and visiting Bath, even if it does infringe on how we use cars in Bath now.
- What could go wrong?
A lot! Any traffic restrictions could have unintended consequences which have to be anticipated.
If the public health benefits are not thought compelling enough to offset the restrictions it will place on those currently using high emissions cars then it will not get off the ground.
If the special provisions and alternatives to car transit across the city centre are not sufficient for those less well off and disadvantaged it will seem a very unfair imposition on the less well off.
- Should we support it?
At the moment those on the CRA Committee who have had time to study it carefully are strongly supportive as long as the project team ameliorates all the problems and perversities it might inadvertently cause.