WESTBURY will suffer an unsatisfactory and unfair effect from the Bath Clean Air Zone (CAZ) which came into force on Monday, the town council has stressed.
The council has said that it is concerned that the clean air zone, coupled with the closure of Bath’s Cleveland Bridge, which is diverting heavy lorries to the A350, could exacerbate lorry and traffic journeys.
The CAZ, which came into force on Monday, will see vehicles that do not meet emission standards charged to enter parts of Bath, which has sparked fears that lorries, vans and HGVs will reroute along the A350 through Westbury.
Worryingly for local people, the Bath Clear Air Zone includes sections of the A36 – the Lower Bristol Road – which is the main trunk route from the Midlands down to the South Coast and the Southampton ports.
Westbury Town Council has been lobbying hard against the initiative because they say it will leave Westbury at risk of more HGVs and cars using its unsuitable road network.
“This traffic will have a potential negative impact on the Air Quality Management Area, putting the health of residents in jeopardy,” the town council told White Horse News.
“Regardless of the air quality, the noise, vibration and continuous traffic along the A350 that divides our community in half, it is detrimental to the wellbeing of our community.
“We have been told by Wiltshire Council that a bypass is still many years away and while we understand that Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) had no choice but to introduce an air quality zone, this did not need to include Cleveland Bridge.
“In our opinion, the overall effect on Westbury is both unsatisfactory and unfair.”
The CAZ has been implemented despite Westbury’s protestations throughout the process, including a face-to-face meeting with BANES to argue that it was not necessary to include Cleveland Bridge.
Wiltshire Council has shared its profound concerns over the impact it will have in the county, particularly the air quality in Westbury. Council leader Cllr Philip Whitehead, said: “We support the concept of Clean Air Zones and of course recognise BANES’ efforts to improve air quality in Bath, but this must not come at a cost to the air quality in our West Wiltshire towns, particularly Westbury and Bradford on Avon.”
The council has requested monitoring in West Wiltshire to measure traffic volumes and ensure there is no detrimental effect on the air quality.