Southampton city council is offering drivers of fully electric vehicles free passage over the Itchen toll bridge as part of its air quality plan.
A typical charge would be up to 40p during for residents, or 60p for non-residents in peak times to travel across the bridge which links the Woolston area in the East to the centre of the city.
The concession is available to electric vehicle drivers living in the following council areas: Southampton city, New Forest district, Test Valley borough, Winchester district, Eastleigh borough, Fareham borough, Gosport borough, Havant borough and Portsmouth city using a SmartCities Card.
Councillor Jacqui Rayment, deputy leader and cabinet member for transport & public realm, says: “Southampton city council is dedicated to reducing harmful pollution from vehicle exhaust fumes. The introduction of the electric vehicle concession for Itchen Bridge users is testament to our commitment in delivering our Clean Air Strategy and making Southampton a healthy, safe place to live and work.â€?
The scheme follows the introduction of 30 new electric vehicle charging points in five of Southampton’s multi-storey car parks earlier this year.
Other meausres include a 90% reduction in annual city centre season ticket parking fees for electric car owners and offering taxi drivers cashback on licensing fees if they replace older more polluting vehicles with low emission alternatives.
Southampton is currently looking at a range of measures to tackle air pollution including the potential introduction of a Clean Air Zone from 2019, which would charge some vehicles for driving in the centre of the city.
The city council is looking at the introduction of 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.
Under the plans 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.
However a charge for 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’.