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Bath Clean Air Zone fines leave council more than £ 1million out of pocket Bath City News

Drivers are racking up fines worth tens of thousands of pounds a day for entering the Bath Clean Air Zone and not paying the charges.

Figures shared with advisers show that more than 54,000 charges have been paid since the zone was launched in March and 28,000 fines of £ 120 have been imposed.

This means that a third of drivers of non-compliant vehicles do not pay the daily charge within six days of entering the zone.

READ MORE: ‘Open Minded’ Advice on Expanding Bath Clean Air Zone

For the first eight weeks, Bath and the North East Somerset Council resorted to a “soft application” and said they would only seek to recoup the entrance fee and not the additional fine.

That period is now over and he has accumulated over £ 560,000 in fees paid, but only a fraction of the seven-figure sum owed to him in fines.

There are early signs that the area – introduced on March 15 to tackle illegal nitrogen dioxide levels in the city – is changing behavior, as the number of non-compliant vehicles entering it decreases, although residents have expressed concerns. concerns about the movement of traffic.

Zone manager Cath Brown told review committee members on June 21, “We are here to enforce the zone to promote behavior change, not necessarily to penalize people.

“We have issued over 28,000 penalty notices. With the software problem surrounding the exemptions, some of them were canceled. “

About a fifth of the fines were imposed on residents of Bath and North East Somerset.

Clean Air Zone boundary sign on London Road in Bath (Image: Bath Live)

“We paid over 54,000 entrance fees,” added Ms. Brown.

“As the total number of vehicles increases, the total number of chargeable vehicles decreases, indicating some emerging trends in behavior change.”

These changes are not always for the best. Residents have complained that the area has shifted traffic and created new rat routes, Brown said council is taking the concerns seriously.

A map of the boundaries of Bath’s new Clean Air Zone (Image: Bath and North East Somerset Council)

Around 40,000 vehicles drive through the Clean Air Zone every day.

Private cars are exempt, but drivers of non-compliant vans, taxis and private hire vehicles must pay £ 9 per day, while those driving a bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle must pay £ 100 per day.

Anyone who does not pay the fee within six days of entering the area will be fined £ 120, a sum which is halved if paid within 14 days.

The council has hired a company to recover the money it owes drivers outside the UK.

As of June 15, an entry fee worth over £ 564,000 had been paid, suggesting most were smaller vehicles carrying the £ 9 daily charge, while fines brought in 117 Additional £ 000.

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If all 28,000 drivers paid within 14 days, the fines would be worth nearly £ 1.7million.

Ms. Brown added, “Older diesel light commercial vehicles represent the largest category of non-compliant revenue vehicles entering the zone. These are the vehicles that have a disproportionate impact on air quality.

“These are the owners of these vehicles that we are really trying to target with our financial assistance program. The program received over 2,000 expressions of interest. Over 500 vehicles have been approved for an upgrade. We are also providing funds for modernization.

The city’s bus fleet is nearing compliance, but the pandemic has caused a shortage of modernization components.

Ms Brown said the financial aid program, offering grants and interest-free loans, had been “an incredible success” and the council was looking for additional government funding to support more people.

She said an investigation showed more businesses support the Clean Air Zone than oppose it, but there was a misconception that this was an additional source of income for the council. .

Program revenues fund operating costs, while any surplus is reinvested in council transportation policies.

A report on the first three months of the zone will be published at the end of the summer.

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Source: www.somersetlive.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-06-22 15:25:29

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