ULEZ-style rules for Bath car parks: Council introduces variable parking charges based on a vehicle’s emissions
Bath will introduce variable parking rates based on vehicle emissions from Friday.
Under ULEZ rules, owners of all diesel cars and some high-emission petrol models will have to pay more to use municipal car parks in the city centre.
It means owners of the most polluting diesels will see prices rise from £1.70 an hour to £2.50 this week – a 47 per cent increase.
The Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) Council says asking people with more polluting vehicles to pay ‘a little more’ will encourage a ‘shift to cleaner and more sustainable urban travel’.
The historic city of Bath will introduce ULEZ-style rules for council-operated car parks on Friday, requiring drivers to pay a charge based on their vehicle’s CO2 emissions. Owners of all diesel models will see their costs rise
It added: ‘The aim is to reduce the number of more polluting vehicles entering Bath, where air pollution is a problem, especially for people with chronic heart and lung conditions.’
That said, the company estimates that 66 percent of current parking customers will have to pay additional fees starting tomorrow.
A similar system for parking permits for homes already exists in the city.
In Bath, only petrol owners and models with emissions of less than 131 g/km CO2 will therefore not undergo a price increase. The same applies to all electric cars. However, it means that all diesel vehicles and more polluting petrols will have to pay a higher rate from Friday
Here are the new proposed parking rates for petrol, hybrid and electric models from September 8
Diesel car drivers will pay differently – and everyone will see parking costs rise at the eight locations from Friday 8 September
The price of parking will depend on vehicle emissions and fuel type, with all diesel vehicles expected to pay more.
The parking charges are calculated according to the bands used for the vehicle tax, more commonly known as the car tax.
London’s Lambeth Council also introduced short-stay parking charges based on VED tires earlier this year, including extra fines for older diesels.
In Bath, only petrol owners and models with emissions of less than 131 g/km CO2 will therefore not undergo a price increase. The same applies to all electric cars.
But it means all diesel vehicles and more polluting petrols will have to pay a higher rate from Friday.
For example, for a petrol car with CO2 emissions of 131 to 150 g/km, the costs increase from € 1.70 to € 1.80 for an hour of parking.
However, a diesel model that falls in the same emissions class will be charged an extra 50p – £2.30.
Drivers will have to check their vehicle’s emissions on the government’s website to find out if they have to pay or not.
That said, the individual charges will be calculated automatically by payment terminals when motorists enter their license plate number.
Shockingly, all foreign-registered vehicles that cannot be checked against DVLA data will be charged the highest price for the chosen duration – a measure criticized by some for its potential negative impact on tourism in the historic city.
One of the eight car parks that will implement the new emission-based parking rates is Avon Street, which has a total of 140 parking spaces.
Charlotte Street car park is one of the largest in size to introduce the new emissions-based variable parking pricing. It has 1,056 bays, including 24 disabled spaces
The Cattle Market car park in the city center is also affected. There are only 40 places in total
Ahead of the introduction of the new variable rate rates, the council said it will be replacing signage on its car parks to reflect the new fee structure and is advising customers to check this signage when paying for their stay.
The new charges “aim to encourage motorists with more polluting vehicles to use more sustainable alternatives when visiting the city centre,” such as Park & Ride services, and encourage a shift to public transport, walking, cycling and cycling.
Cllr Manda Rigby said: ‘Prices will not change for many drivers, these new charges will only affect people who bring more polluting vehicles into our city.
“This approach is being used across the country, but we are the only municipality still committed to offering cash payments to customers. We think it is very important to protect this.
“Our overall goal is to improve public safety by improving air quality and reducing congestion.”
In a recent public consultation conducted by the local government, more than half of the 1,692 responses expressed concern about air quality and believed that the municipality should do more to tackle air pollution.
Paul Barker, editor-in-chief at online car marketplace Carwow, says a system that involves entering a license plate number to determine a custom parking price should be “accurate” and not overcharge some drivers.
However, he warned that this could make Bath a less attractive attraction for visitors.
“Increased parking charges for more polluting vehicles is the next phase in the council’s effort to clean up Britain’s roads by making it less attractive to drive older and more polluting vehicles,” he said.
Insiders have warned that the charges – including the highest rates for non-UK registered vehicles – could have a negative impact on Bath’s top tourist attractions, such as the Abbey.
‘But it could be an unwelcome development in a more touristy hotspot like Bath, where many visitors come unaware of the huge increase in parking costs when they arrive in the area.
“Based on the proposals, motorists will face a 38 percent increase in parking costs for the most polluting vehicles compared to the least polluting vehicles over a two-hour period.
‘This indicates the direction of travel; and that the costs of owning and operating diesel cars that do not comply with the latest emission legislation, or of older petrol cars, continue to rise.’
The introduction of emissions-based parking charges builds on Bath’s Clean Air Zone, the first emissions charging zone introduced outside London two years ago.
Last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan oversaw the expansion of ULEZ to all 32 boroughs in the capital – a move that has sparked outrage among many motorists.
Bath is one of thirteen different zones across the country where some (or all) vehicles are subject to a surcharge.
Since 15 March 2021, drivers of small vans, taxis and privately owned Uber-style hire vehicles have been forced to pay £9 to enter Bath’s inner city clean air zone, while larger lorries and buses are required to pay £100 daily to enter .
Cllr Rigby added: ‘Our overall aim is to improve public safety by improving air quality and reducing congestion. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultation and shared their views with us.
Air pollution currently causes up to 36,000 deaths in Britain each year and responses to the consultation show residents are concerned about air quality in Bath, which these changes will help improve.
“The introduction of these new tariffs will also support our Journey to Net Zero ambitions, building on the progress made by the Clean Air Zone.”
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