Driver charged £9 every time he left home forced to move over ‘draining’ car tax costs
Bath's Clean Air Zone explained by Bathnes Council
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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.
“I couldn’t even drive to see my parents without being charged and you’ve got to remember that we have just had a year of lockdown when you weren’t allowed to see anybody,” he told Somerset Live.
Eventually, Ian said the daily fee was “draining” his finances, calling it a “heavy weight” on his mind every week.
He contacted Bath and North East Somerset Council to ask what he should do, where they suggested giving him a loan to buy a new van.
The council offered him a grant but the money was not enough to cover the cost of a new van.
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He added: “I don’t think that’s very fair really – to create a problem and then tell someone they have to get into debt to solve it.
“I searched and searched for another van that was compliant but the price of vans has shot up during Covid.
“And if I sold my van, it doesn’t get rid of the problem. Someone else will just be driving it around.
“I am quite environmentally conscious. I want to cycle and not pollute the planet as much and, to me, the balance was right.
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