Proposed changes to car parking charges in Bath and North East Somerset, including the wider rollout of emission-based charges, are going before councillors ahead of wider public consultation later this year.

Under the proposed changes all parking charges would see a modest increase over the next two years, as well as more locations switching to a variable charging structure linked to a vehicle’s emissions, meaning more polluting vehicles will pay more.

Emission-based parking charges are proposed to be implemented at the following locations:

  • Bath (all on-street pay and display locations)
  • Keynsham (all council-owned car parks)
  • Midsomer Norton (South View Road and Excelsior Terrace car parks)
  • Radstock (Church Road and Waterloo Road car parks)
  • Saltford (The Shallows car park)

Councillors on the Climate Emergency and Sustainability Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel on March 21 will be updated on proposals to review parking charges and extend emission-based parking charges to all paid-for parking locations, as agreed by Council on February 20 as part of the 2024-25 budget setting.

A report before the panel says significant engagement and consultation was undertaken to introduce emission-based charging for on-street permits in 2021 and agreed by the council’s Cabinet in July 2021, with further consultation work undertaken last year for emission-based car parking charges in Bath.

It says all proposals that vary car parking charges need a change to the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and a TRO public consultation on the proposal is due to launch later in 2024, with a decision expected in the summer.

The proposed new charges would affect all motorists; however, the price of parking would depend on a vehicle’s emissions, in line with the bands used for DVLA vehicle exercise duty. More polluting vehicles, like diesel vehicles, would pay a higher rate than those with lower polluting vehicles. Motorists can check their vehicle’s emissions on the Government’s website.

Emission-based parking charges were introduced to council-owned Bath car parks last year to improve air quality in Bath and incentivise motorists with more polluting vehicles to use more sustainable alternatives when visiting the city centre, like the park and ride, and encourage a shift to public transport, walking, wheeling and cycling.

People will be asked for their views on the provision of free parking for short periods in Midsomer Norton and Radstock, where charges do not currently apply.

Councillor Manda Rigby, cabinet member for Transport, said: “We have consulted widely on these proposals and have agreed a review of them as part of our 2024-25 budget. We will consult further this summer, including getting people’s views on the provision of free parking for short periods in Midsomer Norton and Radstock.  

“Our aim is to continue the progress we have made in Bath on air quality, reduce congestion and encourage other ways to travel. While targets and legal limits exist for air pollution, there is no safe limit and any measures that reduce pollution from vehicles will have a positive impact on everyone’s health and the wider environment.”

The additional revenue generated from parking charges in areas where parking is currently free in Midsomer Norton and Radstock will help support regeneration schemes designed to increase footfall and support local businesses.

New charges will also apply for motorbikes.

To watch the Climate Emergency and Sustainability Policy Development & Scrutiny Panel on 21 March go to the council’s YouTube channel