Robin Kerr, Co-ordinator of the Bath Alliance for Transport and Public Realm, has warned of the challenges facing the city of Bath's motorists, both residents and businesses, as the new clean air zone and cameras are introduced and traffic congestion grows.
Recent press coverage in the Bath Chronicle, Chew Valley Gazette and Somerset Live, reported the range of concerns expressed by the Alliance. Robin Kerr, also a Director of Bath Bridge, a local community interest company concerned with the profile and identity of the city, has said that the city's new clean air zone will do little to tackle traffic congestion but the introduction of cameras could serve a dual purpose, although this may well result in some motorists being penalised with financial charges twice.
The strength of concerns from key stakeholders across the city are represented in the ongoing work of the Alliance, established five years ago, with 21 members including the city's two universities, Bath Preservation Trust, Bath BID, Bath Rugby, Bath City Football Club and the RUH amongst them.
Robin, on behalf of the Alliance, has commented on the city's transportation issues and some of the key aspects needing immediate attention. These include:
the damage to Cleveland Bridge
low traffic neighbourhoods
the need for a monorail.
Image: Cleveland Bridge
Himself resident in Bath for over 50 years and an engineer by profession, Robin reinforced the seriousness of the city's transportation issues; issues he said have been a significant problem for many years, impacting on both Bath's businesses and residents. He advocates forcibly the need for urgent and consistent action that starts to address the root causes of these problems, arguing that policy changes every four years are not the answer.
Robin puts forward the case for a number of actions including:
retaining the 18-tonne weight limit on Cleveland Bridge, following the forthcoming repairs, to stop much heavier lorries continuing to cause damage and pollution to the city
piloting the concept of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in a small number of areas of the city to enable the assessment of impact on residents and traffic flow
investing significantly in the city's public transport, both buses (their efficiency and cost effectiveness for users) and the development of a monorail located along the river as a way to relieve congestion on London Road
extending the city's park and ride scheme to become 24/7 to allow for deliveries and alternative uses such as the night time economy
identifying an additional park and ride facility for road users coming into the city via London Road
utilising cameras to impose a congestion charge ('road user pricing') to cut the number of vehicles on the roads during peak times
He argues that the Council and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) collectively need to give serious consideration to these ideas and draw up an action plan for urgent implementation, if the volume of traffic and pollution levels in the city are to be reduced. Robin also commented on the aim for the city becoming carbon neutral by 2030 saying that as drivers move to electric vehicles, the introduction of road user pricing could provide an opportunity for the Council to replace lost revenue from taxing petrol and diesel cars in the future.
Detailed planning and consideration will also need to go into exploring new and emerging technologies to support the charging of electric vehicles as car owners make the inevitable shift away from petrol and diesel. For Bath as a World Heritage City, it will not be straightforward to install charging points on the many Georgian buildings and streets, so opening up discussions with different suppliers to identify the most effective solutions for the future will be critical.
Robin concluded by saying:
“You have to make buses so attractive and everything else so unattractive. In London the Tube is better than anything else. You make parking so difficult and buses so good, and a reasonable price."
Read the full interview with Robin Kerr in the Chew Valley Gazette
Further information contact Robin Kerr, Bath Alliance for Transport and Public Realm