A trustee of an animal charity was left “horrified” after the organisation was caught out by Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ). Shelagh Meredith, trustee at Waggy Tails Rescue (WTR) in Dorset, says the charity has been hit by £138 in fines after unwittingly travelling through the CAZ.
Launched in March 2021, Bath’s CAZ charges high-emission taxis, vans (including pick-ups and some camper vans), light goods vehicles, buses and other large vehicles to travel through the city centre. The aim of the system is to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in the city.
However, Shelagh Meredith says WTR was unaware of the charges as staff very rarely pass through Bath. Writing to local newspaper Bath Chronicle, she asked “would it not be possible for your council to send an advisory notice for a first offence, instead of an instant fine”?
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She wrote: “As a small animal rescue charity, we support other small rescues across the UK. One such is in Carmarthenshire and we endeavour to take food for their animals twice a year.
“This is a lady who works almost entirely on her own, who looks after dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, donkeys, injured and orphaned foxes, rabbits and hedgehogs. On March 27, we travelled through Bath with our load of food, and on March 29 we travelled back.
“We were not aware that there had been a Clean Air Zone regulation put in place in Bath since we did our last mercy trip. We are very sorry that we broke your rules but we did not do so intentionally, and were horrified to receive two fines of £120 each, plus £9 each, for this error.
“As a small rescue charity, £138 is a great deal of money. This would pay for three lots of vaccinations –or neutering of a dog – or enough food for 20 dogs for a week. Would it not be possible for your council to send an advisory notice for a first offence, instead of an instant fine?”
Bath and North East Somerset Council has been contacted for comment.