Wiltshire Council will “formally oppose” plans to restrict HGVs on Cleveland Bridge
Wiltshire Council has today (Thursday 9 December) published a robust open letter in response to Bath & North East Somerset Council's (BANES) proposals to restrict heavy good vehicles (HGVs) using Cleveland Bridge in Bath, on the A36.
The letter clearly sets out Wiltshire's position, and expresses the council's disappointment that, despite BANES' promises for the two councils to work closely together, Wiltshire was not consulted on the proposals.
The plans are due to be discussed at BANES' next Cabinet meeting, on 16 December, and propose to extend the Bath Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to include the Cleveland Bridge area, which would see diesel-powered vehicles weighing over 12 tonnes having to pay a charge to enter the CAZ.
If this went ahead, fewer HGVs may use this section of the A36, with many of these vehicles using roads in Wiltshire instead as a route to and from the M4. This would potentially have a detrimental impact on traffic volumes and air quality in West Wiltshire towns and villages.
Wiltshire Council's response, in the letter from Richard Clewer, leader of the council, says: "The report falls short of exploring many other options available to deal with any air quality hot spots and wrongly singles out weight limit as the only viable option."
The letter makes it clear that Defra's CAZ framework supports Wiltshire Council's position: "In implementing a Clean Air Zone, local authorities will need to consider the impact on local residents, and the need for any mitigating measures… ensuring that Clean Air Zone proposals will not result in the displacement of the most polluting vehicles away from town centres to surrounding areas."
Cllr Clewer adds: "I will not condone any proposal which simply shunts polluting vehicles away from Bath on to Wiltshire's roads and has an adverse effect on communities and residents in West Wiltshire," before clearly setting out Wiltshire Council's position: "I can confirm that Wiltshire Council will formally oppose any proposal that (to summarise Defra's guidance) '…results in the displacement of the most polluting vehicles…to surrounding areas'."