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Saturday, 19 October 2019

TARA’s response to the CAZ consultation

Class D is the only option that even on the basis of the council’s own technical advice is likely to achieve a quick reduction in pollution levels. We would have expected a responsible council to want to stop poisoning people in the centre of Bath as quickly and as certainly as possible. We would also expect an administration that has declared a climate emergency would want to act as fast and effectively as possible in all areas of environmental management.

We welcome the inclusion of more of the city centre in the revised boundary and particularly the inclusion of the Pulteney Estate.

Whenever Queen Square has been partially closed in recent years it has displaced disruption and pollution elsewhere in the City. Spreading pollution over a wider area is not really pollution reduction it is playing with numbers. The disruption such schemes cause to residents and businesses in the city centre is always significant and this combined with the increases in pollution and disruption which will as ever, happen in the rat runs which will be exploited by drivers seeking to avoid Queen Square make this proposal unacceptable. Once again we are discussing ad hoc traffic management schemes in the absence of any vision or strategy for managing traffic in the city centre.

BANES have never managed to enforce current weight limits or most other motoring regulations such as the 20mph speed limit. What now makes you think you can enforce new ones? Have the police commented on this and to what effect? If the answer to these question involves extending the role of the proposed CAZ camera network to cover issues other than emission standards is this accounted for in the proposed budget?

A commitment to monitoring the scheme is essential to get residents’ to have any confidence in this watered-down proposal. We also need a commitment to the swift enhancement of the CAZ regulatory framework and boundaries if monitoring shows it is failing to meet its objectives in a timely fashion.

We also need assurances that current monitoring will be reviewed as many badly affected sites do not appear to be being monitored properly, for instance, key city centre canyons such as Broad Street. 

We would welcome any proposals to increase the capacity of the Park and Ride provision particularly to the east of the city.

We would welcome concrete proposals to improve the amount and affordability of public transport but remain unconvinced that what appear to be gimmicky advice services and apps can a be anything other than a minor and potential confusing diversion. 

Pedestrians and cyclists have very different needs particularly in dense urban contexts so please stop lumping them together in this sort of document.

Pollution in the city centre has been a scandal for more than a decade and for all that time people have been having their health damaged and their lives shortened. 

Politicians and pressure groups over this period have held numerous workshops, seminars and written countless papers. The few solutions which have got as far a the planning and feasibility assessment phase have been variously cancelled or watered down to the point of being ineffective often to appease some small but electorally significant group outside the city centre. 

If this council is really committed to environmental protection then they will put the proposed CAZ in place as soon as possible and be prepared to swiftly introduce tougher regulations if and when monitoring shows it is not meeting its objectives.
Once this is achieved we then need as a matter of urgency to address other forms of pollution, such as small participate as well as other sources of pollution.