Car tax changes: New daily road charge to hit petrol and diesel drivers from March

‘Clean air zone’ plans mean diesel drivers could face charges

Car tax updates will see a new emissions charge introduced for those using the most polluting petrol and diesel cars within the city centre. Bath and North East Somerset Council has warned drivers of most pre-euro 6 diesel cars and pre-euro 4 petrol vehicles will be affected by the new charge.

The scheme will run 24 hours a day, seven days a week from its launch date on 15 March.

The Council has confirmed private cars and motorbikes will not need to pay a daily fee to travel in the zone but many other higher emission vehicle owners will be affected.

Buses, coaches, Heavy Goods Vehicles and motorhomes will face a £100 per day charge to drive into the zone.

Meanwhile higher emission minibuses, taxis, private hire vehicles and vans will pay £9 a day to use roads in the city centre.

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Councillor Sarah Warren, Joint Cabinet Member for Climate emergency and Neighborhood Services urged drivers to check whether they would be affected by the charge ahead of its introduction.

She said: “We’re urging businesses and individuals to check whether they need to pay to drive in Bath’s CAZ, well in advance of its launch, using GOV.UK’s vehicle checker.”

“If you know that charges will apply to your vehicles, you can then plan what to do.

“Rather than pay the charge to drive in the zone, we ask that you look at options to upgrade non-compliant vehicles using the financial support on offer or look at reorganising larger regional or national fleets, so that non-compliant vehicles avoid Bath.

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“There are also local exemptions available for hard-to-replace vehicles, vehicles that support vulnerable groups, and also to support businesses such as taxis and small businesses that might be struggling, due to Covid-19, to secure the grants and interest-free finance included in our support package.”

The council has wanted an autopay feature will not be available in the city’s Clean Air Zone.

This means owners of non-compliant vehicles will need to carefully manage their own payments to avoid being caught out.

Payment can be made up to six days in advance of a journey or six days after a journey has been made.

The Council has warned no reminders will be sent with payment made to GOV.UK’s ‘Drive in clean air zone’ service online.

Drivers could receive a £120 fine if they fail to pay the charge although this can be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days of receiving the Penalty Charge Notice.

Bath’s Clean Air Zone will be the first to launch outside London with other scheme planned to launch in Birmingham and Bristol.

Councillor Joanna Wright, Joint Cabinet Member for Transport Services appealed for everyone to “do their bit” to help improve the air quality in the city.

She said: “We can all do something to improve air quality in the city.

“While charges in the zone only apply to commercial and larger vehicles, we’re appealing to everyone to change their travel habits, particularly when Covid restrictions hopefully lift later in the year as people are vaccinated and the pressure on the NHS reduces.

“That could be using the park and ride, taking the bus, or walking or cycling more – particularly on the school run and for shorter trips across the city.

“To reduce the harmful levels of NO2 in Bath, we’re asking everyone to do their bit.”

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