A unique vehicle asset finance framework has been developed by Bath & North East Somerset Council as it prepares to launch one the country’s first charging clean air zones (CAZ).
The CAZ will launch in central Bath on November 4 following almost two and a half years of extensive work to introduce a scheme that brings the council in line with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits by the government’s 2021 deadline. To lessen the zone’s impact - and to ensure air quality targets are met – local businesses will be able to apply for financial support in the form of grants and interest-free finance specifically to upgrade polluting vehicles that would otherwise be charged in the zone.
The council is currently inviting tenders from FCA registered finance companies to administer the financial assistance scheme, with the intention of establishing a framework of up to 12 providers that can also be used by other councils setting up a charging CAZ or other forms of road user charging or enforcement schemes.
By participating in the framework, other councils will be able to quickly and cost effectively add financial support packages to their own schemes, while tailoring the package to their own requirements. For example, Bath’s class C CAZ does not include charges for private cars, however the framework agreement has been carefully designed to accommodate the needs of local authorities introducing a class D CAZ.
Councillor Richard Samuel, cabinet member for Resources, said: “The council has been involved in ground-breaking work to establish a charging clean air zone which will bring about cleaner air and better health for people, as well as contribute towards our Climate Emergency aims to become carbon neutral by 2030.
“As part of this work, our officers have gone through a lengthy and complex exercise to develop a financial assistance scheme that helps drivers affected by charges to upgrade their vehicles. This unique framework will assist other councils if they too adopt clean air zones or similar schemes.
“While our initial focus is on inviting tenders from finance providers to administer Bath’s financial assistance scheme, we’re also interested in hearing from councils that wish to participate in the framework and benefit from the substantial work that’s gone into it.”
The framework was developed with experts in the vehicle asset finance field and meets all local and central government regulations.
Finance providers wishing to tender for Bath’s CAZ financial assistance scheme can find out more at www.supplyingthesouthwest.org.uk
Local authorities are invited to email Ashley Beighton at email@example.com to find out more about participating in the framework.
More information about Bath’s CAZ can be found at www.bathnes.gov.uk/BathCAZ