1. Robin Kerr, Nick Tobin and I took part in meetings on air quality with B&NES and their consultants Jacobs on 27 and 28 June. The first was a bilateral session, the second a 'residents' briefing'. We spoke in line with the FOBRA 'Response' agreed at the last Committee meeting: welcoming the initiative, but making a number of points including the need to address traffic congestion in parallel.
2. B&NES made it clear that they are focusing almost entirely on a Clean Air Zone (CAZ). We said that traffic management and parking control would be a cheap and quick means of reducing car traffic, in parallel with a CAZ for buses, lorries and vans. A Class D CAZ (including cars) would bear hard on poorer city residents. B&NES consider that using traffic management, etc, would be uncertain and take too long.
3. That being the case, we said that a Class D CAZ would be essential since, in most of the city centre, diesel cars are the main source of pollution. However the Council should consider very carefully the impact on residents within the CAZ, especially the less well-off. Perhaps a standing charge similar to that made on the cars of those who live in the London Congestion Zone would be appropriate.
4. We welcomed the fact that the proposed CAZ now includes what were originally the 'blue extensions'. The inclusion of London Road/Camden was important for reducing through lorry traffic, which affects the whole city. B&NES were sanguine that this would be accepted, despite the earlier difficulties about traffic restriction on the A36-A46 route. We also raised concern about rat-running in Upper Oldfield Park and urged B&NES to consider extending the CAZ to prevent this.
5. The website carries a piece (or 'blog') by me on the future for air quality issues (http://www.bathresidents.org.uk/fobra-papers.php ). Comments would be welcome.
6. Robin spoke at the second of Wera Hobhouse MP's conferences on 9 June, attended by more than 100 people. His main point was the need to move on from endless talk about transport to implementing the Bath Transport Strategy and other Council policies to reduce traffic and improve pedestrian and cycle access and public transport; why have these strategies not been implemented, and what are the obstacles to this? The presentation was well received. Robin will cover this in his Chairman's report.
7. Last week Labour were the first major Party in Bath to come out in favour of more pedestrianisation, although their proposal was actually just to consult on this. I wrote to the Chronicle (28 June) welcoming the announcement but suggesting that the Party make a firm manifesto commitment. It is to be hoped that it will encourage the other parties to be bolder.
8. First Bus have announced plans to re-route the U1 bus so that it will no longer travel around the centre of the city, but pick up and drop off at Corn Street. There have been some objections from users who value this, including a letter in the Chronicle today. On the other hand, it would lead to a reduction in the serious congestion in Dorchester Street and Manvers Street, and some reduction in air pollution.
Patrick Rotheram, Transport Lead 28 June 2018