Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES Council) is extending its Videalert CCTV enforcement platform with the installation of additional cameras for its approved class C clean air zone (CAZ) that gives exemptions to private cars but charges higher polluting buses, coaches, HGVs, LGVs/vans, private hire vehicles and taxis. Videalert was awarded the contract to ensure full and seamless integration with the council’s existing hosted digital video platform which is already being used to enforce a wide range of restrictions including bus lanes, bus gates and permit parking.
B&NES Council was one of 28 councils directed by the government to prepare an action plan to urgently reduce high levels of nitrogen dioxide (caused by vehicle emissions) to within EU and national limits by 2021 at the latest. The authority had originally proposed a Class D CAZ, charging all higher emission vehicles, including cars, to drive in the city centre. However, following further ongoing technical work and a public consultation in December – which garnered an unprecedented 8,421 responses – a class C option with additional traffic management, was agreed.
According to Chris Major, group manager for Transport and Parking at B&NES Council: “The new charging class C CAZ will achieve compliance by 2021 apart from a single exceedance caused by localised traffic issues. We believe this will be resolved by installing traffic signals at two junctions.”
Videalert will be installing HD ANPR cameras to enforce the new CAZ scheme at key road junctions across the designated boundary. The hosted Videalert platform will automate the management and enforcement of this new zone, providing real-time identification including vehicle make, model, colour and euro standard rating for pre-filtering and updating the whitelist of compliant vehicles held at the edge to minimise transmission costs. Information on non-compliant vehicles will then interface with the UK government’s new national clean air zone database for vehicle validation and payment. The system will also provide detailed analytics and impact analysis highlighting the reduction in non-compliant vehicles entering the zone over time.
Videalert added: “The award of this high profile contract confirms our ability to handle the evolving requirements of clean air and low emission zones. It also demonstrates how a single video data platform can support multiple applications, enabling councils to address the challenges of improving traffic congestion and air quality simultaneously.”
The CAZ should commence operation at the end of 2020. The daily charge will be £9 for non-compliant taxis, private hire vehicles and light goods vehicles (the minimum standard being euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol), and £100 for buses, coaches and HGVs (the minimum standard being euro 6).