AUTHORITIES remain at odds over as Bath Council moves forward with plans to restrict HGVs on Cleveland Bridge.

The Somerset council plans to restrict diesel HGCs over 12 tonnes from crossing the listed bridge.

Repairs to the bridge are on-going and cabinet member for transport at BANES, Manda Rigby said millions more will need to be spent when the 18-tonne limit is lifted.

While an outright ban is not feasible, BANES could change the rules around its clean air zone to charge lorries over 12 tonnes.

And while the decision does not set the scheme in stone, it does instruct officers to work on the developing a workable project.

These plans have come under heavy fire from Wiltshire Council, which sees the proposals as BANES 'shunting' pollution to another authority.

It said the plans would send additional HGVs on to Wiltshire roads and would adversely affect air quality in the towns and villages.

Leader of Wiltshire Council Richard Clewer said: “We’re extremely disappointed that BANES’ cabinet has agreed to proceed with these proposals to charge HGVs over 12 tonnes from using the A36 at Cleveland Bridge.

“We will continue to fight these plans using every means necessary and will now consider our next steps.

“It is positive that they have agreed to engage with ourselves and other stakeholders. The solution to regional traffic issues needs to be discussed through collaborative working with all local authorities in the south west and National Highways.

“This unilateral proposal is not the answer, as it would simply move the problem rather than solving it, by pushing HGV traffic from BANES into our West Wiltshire communities.”

Councillor for Westbury East, Gordon King said: “I understand and support the benefits of a Clean Air Zone in Bath, but simply sending these vehicles into Wiltshire doesn’t solve the issue – it just moves the problem elsewhere. We need to work together to find a regional solution that works for both Bath and Wiltshire.”

Cleveland Bridge is currently undergoing £3.8m in repairs. Works Cllr Rigby believes will need be re-done years down the line if HGVs are allowed unfettered travel over the bridge.

The council is anticipating that the bridge will reopen in mid-January.