Tower Bridge – Possible restrictions for Tourist Buses

The local press has reported that the City of London Corporation is considering banning tourist buses from using Tower Bridge as a way of protecting the structure from long term damage. The bridge, which already has an 18-tonne weight limit, has seen an increase in traffic since restrictions were placed on neighbouring London Bridge in March.

The Corporation may press for the BHE [Bridge House Estates] Board to require the existing weight restriction to be changed to a regulatory restriction used for weak Bridges. This would not necessarily allow the exemption for buses and therefore prohibit many of the existing tourist buses crossing the bridge. Other potential solutions reported in the local press include dropping the weight limit even further and introducing physical barriers.

Speaking to Bus and Coach Buyer Peter Bradley, Managing Director of the UK Coach Operators Association said ‘The reports in the local press are concerning. Coaches and Buses should be seen as a solution to the challenges of traffic volume, clean air and climate change, not as the cause of the problem. Banning Tourist Buses and potentially coaches too (although coaches have not been specifically referenced) from using Tower Bridge would impact many regular and occasional journeys using public transport. We are willing to talk with the Corporation to ensure that any proposals to restrict buses and coaches from using this iconic structure are properly thought through and that priority is given to transport that reduces traffic volumes.’

Bristol – Clean Air Zone Implementation

As well as Bradford’s CAZ which starts later this month Bristol is also launching its CAZ this year, commencing on Monday 28 November. They will join Bath, Birmingham and Portsmouth (together with London’s Low Emission Zone) in setting emission standards for vehicles entering certain parts of the city and the surrounding area.

However, unlike Bradford, Bristol’s CAZ will also include most private cars as well as Buses, Coaches and Trucks. Charges will apply to vehicles that don’t meet the zone’s emission standards (below Euro 4 for petrol vehicles and Euro 6 for Diesel) and will use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to register all vehicles driving into and through the zone. If a vehicle does not meet the zone’s emission standards it will automatically register a charge.

Daily charges apply 24 hours a day (midnight to midnight), seven days a week, all year round when entering or driving in the zone. Because charges apply daily, you can enter or leave the zone on multiple occasions each day you pay a charge and only be charged once for that day. Charges do not apply if a vehicle is parked in the zone but does not move.

Charges for buses and coaches that do not meet the emission standards are £100 a day.

Full details of the Bristol scheme can be found here and a map of the area covered by the CAZ is here