Driver charged £9 every time he left home forced to move over 'draining' car tax costs

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Ian Akers works in Bath city centre and used to cycle there each day from his home on Lower Bristol Road, which is inside the clean air zone. He has a 1999 Mazda Bongo campervan which he uses for long trips, or to visit family.

When the Bath clean air zone was launched in March 2021, it became eligible for a daily charge if it left his driveway.

Ian said: “I would cycle to work and back every day, I’d cycle to the pub, cycle to meet my mates. I rarely used a vehicle.

“I had saved up to buy my 1999 Mazda Bongo van and then done up it inside, so it was a very personal thing and I had stopped it from going to landfill.

“But it wasn’t compliant with the Clean Air Zone, so every single time I left my house I was fined £9 – which I thought was a bit communist really.

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“I went from driving nine miles a week to now probably driving 25 miles a week.

“It’s completely the wrong way round. I didn’t cause any pollution going into work before.”

Bath was directed to launch a clean air zone by the Government in 2017 in order to reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in the city. 

Since the introduction of the CAZ, Birmingham and Portsmouth have successfully launched their own versions, as well as the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.

A number of cities including Edinburgh, Bristol and Greater Manchester are expected to launch their clean air zones this year.

In response to the situation, Councillor Sarah Warren, Deputy Leader and cabinet member for Climate and Sustainable Travel commented.

She said: “Bath’s Clean Air Zone was introduced to discourage highly-polluting vehicles driving in areas where poor air quality is damaging people’s health.

“Last August we offered Ian Akers advice along with a £4,500 grant and interest free finance to help replace his van with a compliant new or second hand vehicle.

“He did not choose to take up this offer, and chose instead to move.

“We’ve helped around 1000 local people and businesses to replace their polluting vehicles so they are less damaging to people’s health, using £9.4million of government funding.”



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