Radio Bath News Three

Bath Clean Air Zone: One Year On

Bath and Northeast Somerset Council reflect on the successes of the air pollution curbing project

By Alastair Salmon

It has been one year since Bath saw the introduction of the charged ‘clean air zone’, the first of its kind outside of London. With data showing a 14% drop in nitrogen dioxide pollution within the zone, Bath and Northeast Somerset Council are confident that the project is progressing successfully.

Much of the success is attributed to the willingness of the community to upgrade their vehicles. In addition, they report that 90% of taxis and HGVs and nearly 100% of bus services coming in and out of the zone are compliant with the new vehicle standards.

Sarah Warren, Cabinet Lead for Climate and Sustainable Travel at Bath and Northeast Somerset Council, told us that the clean air zone “has increased people’s awareness of the importance of vehicle emissions and the impact on public health”. There are further hopes of fewer admissions to hospitals for conditions such as asthma as a result of the project.

I really want to thank everyone who’s gone to the trouble, and expense, of upgrading their vehicles because we can really notice the difference

Sarah Warren, Cabinet Lead for Climate and Sustainable Travel

Sarah Warren says that now the focus is on the city’s legal target of 40 micrograms per m3 of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The expectation is that the target will have been met by this time next year. A few sites around the city need attention where nitrogen dioxide levels have not reduced as significantly as hoped.

“We’re doing quite ground-breaking studies to understand what’s going on at those locations”, Sarah explained. With over 100 air quality monitoring stations around the city, the council aims to tweak the clean air scheme as per the needs of individual locations. Necessary improvements aside, the council considers the clean air zone a big success and are proud that Bath is setting an example on how to tackle air quality in cities. With funding of £130 million from central government to put towards sustainable transport, they are hopeful this will continue.

Image credit: Silviya Nenova,