Drivers may be fined up to £120 for breaking new driving law introduced today

'Clean air zone' plans mean diesel drivers could face charges

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The first Clean Air Zone to be launched outside of London went live at midnight today introducing a charging system for the most polluting petrol and diesel cars. Affected drivers must pay their daily fees online six days before or six days after a journey or could face expensive fines.

Motorists have 28 days from the date on the front of their penalty charge notice to pay the fine of £120 or to make an appeal.

Bath and North East Somerset Council has warned drivers who pay the penalty within 14 days will only pay a discounted rate of £60.

Road users will need their Penalty Charge Notice number and their vehicle registration to pay any fines through the online portal.

The council warns any road users who fail to pay a fine could be issued a Charge Certificate.

This will increase the penalty by 50 percent meaning road users will need to pay out up to £180.

The council has warned they will enforce penalties if drivers refuse to pay the charge.

Bath’s new Clean Air Zone will run through the city centre 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Private cars will not be charged in the new Clean Air Zone even if they are used for work purposes.

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Instead, the council has decided to target vehicles which regularly use the city centre such as taxis, vans and personal hire vehicles.

These will all face a £9 daily charge to use the zone alongside light goods vehicles, pick up trucks and minibuses.

Meanwhile, private heavy goods vehicles, trucks, lorries and coaches will face a higher £100 daily fee.

Councillor Dine Romero, leader of the council said introducing a charging zone was the “only way” to reduce pollution within the city.

She said: “This [is] a landmark day for the city. We’ve put up with unacceptable levels of nitrogen dioxide for too long.

“This is unfair on residents, particularly vulnerable older people and children.

“We want to reduce NO 2 pollution in Bath to within legal limits by the end of 2021 at the latest, and a charging clean air zone is the only way we can achieve this.

“We know this is a difficult time for businesses, but we’ve gone ahead with the zone during the pandemic because this is a pressing public health issue.

“However, we are working with residents and businesses to help them replace polluting vehicles with cleaner ones and there is significant financial and practical help available.”

Some motorists can apply for local exemptions and discounts but this must be done 14 days before receiving approval.

Those driving a larger motorhome or horse transporter, which are heavy goods vehicles, may be able to apply for a discount.

Exemptions will also apply for hard to replace vehicles or any models supporting health and emergency services.

Exemptions will also apply to those vehicles supporting vulnerable groups in the community.

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