A row has broken out over plans to charge Euro-6 HGVs £50 for entering Bath’s clean air zone (CAZ), with Wiltshire council expressing its “opposition and frustration” at the proposals.

Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) Council leader Kevin Guy said he made “no apology” for putting the health and wellbeing of residents first, but he wanted to work closely with Wiltshire Council to improve the community’s health.

Guy said he had written to Wiltshire Council's leader Richard Clewer setting out BANES council’s position and that it wanted to vary the charging order so that Class N3 Euro-6 HGVs were charged £50 when entering the CAZ.

He said this was lower than the existing charge of £100 for non-compliant Euro V lorries and below, “in recognition of the need to strike a balance between encouraging further improvements in the HGV fleet and operators sending older, higher polluting HGVs into the city.”

However, Wiltshire Council said it was strongly opposed to the plans.

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Clewer said he was also concerned at the continuation of the 18-tonne weight restriction on Cleveland Bridge in Bath, despite repairs now being substantially complete.

He said: “We’re extremely disappointed that BANES is looking to change its CAZ to introduce a charge for Euro VI diesel HGVs exceeding 12 tonnes.

“These are the cleanest HGVs currently on the market, so this feels less of a clean air initiative and more of a quest to restrict all HGVs in the city.

“This proposal, along with the now extended temporary 18-tonne weight restriction on Cleveland Bridge, is pushing this traffic issue onto Wiltshire roads and through towns such as Bradford on Avon, Corsham and Westbury, and this is something that we are not prepared to accept.”

Bath’s CAZ was launched in March 2021, despite the RHA criticising it for rolling it out in the middle of a pandemic.