Southampton council will push ahead with its plans for a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city this week, with councillors set to approve proposals at a meeting today (19 June).
Documents published ahead of the meeting suggest that council officers favour a ‘Class B CAZ’, which would see buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) below the Euro VI emissions standard, charged up to £100 per day to enter the zone.
From 2019, Private hire vehicles and taxis below Euro 6 for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol will be charged £12.50 per day to operate within the zone, under the current plans.
Charging charge private car users, light goods vehicles, minibuses, motorcycles or mopeds to drive within the zone has not been recommended for approval by the local authority, which claims that the option would have an ‘adverse economic impact’ and is ‘unlikely to be supported locally’.
The scheme would be enforced using a network of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to identify vehicles that do not meet minimum emission standards, with penalties issued to drivers who fail to pay within 24 hours.
Should councillors approve the proposal, the council will then push the plans out to public consultation from Thursday (21 June) and closing in September.
According to the documents, a series of mitigation measures will be implemented to ensure that the proposals will not adversely impact businesses within the city.
The council has noted: “The preferred option would include a range of mitigation measures to support local businesses and organisations adversely impacted by the introduction of the scheme. If subsequently approved, this will include discounts and exemptions from the charge.
“Access would also be available to funds for supporting the replacement of non-compliant vehicles with compliant vehicles and to support sustainable and Clean Air Zone compliant practice, for example choosing to consolidate goods and use compliant vehicles to undertake deliveries within the Clean Air Zone.â€?
Southampton was one of five city authorities mandated within the government’s 2015 air quality plan as being required to establish a clean air zone by 2020 to help bring the UK into compliance with the Air Quality Directive target on nitrogen dioxide emissions.
Other cities mandated to establish clean air zones included Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham and Derby. To date, Leeds city council has outlined its CAZ proposals, which include charging for some vehicles to drive within some polluted parts of the city, and the council is expected to bring forward firm proposals later this week.
Birmingham city council is also expected to bring forward its plans for a CAZ this week.
Southampton city council – Clean Air Zone Consultation