Southampton city council has signed up to Oxfordâ€™s Cleaner Air Charter, an initiative launched in August 2018 by Oxford city council in partnership with Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace UK (see airqualitynews.com story).
The charter calls for the Government to take ten bold steps to address damaging levels of air pollution including greater investment in public transport and tighter legal limits on emissions (see below).
Southampton is the first local authority to join Oxford in this endeavour and now Oxford is urging more local authorities to sign up.
Councillor Christopher Hammond, leader of Southampton city council, said that air pollution was one of the top public health issues at present, causing â€œall manner of serious health issuesâ€.
He said: â€œIn Southampton weâ€™re committed to clean air, and are taking bold action to make this a reality. But councils cannot deliver change solely on our own. This is a national problem and needs strong governmental leadership.
â€œWhich is why Oxford city councilâ€™s Cleaner Air Charter is so important and why Iâ€™m proud that Southampton city council is the founding signatory to support this call for action. By working together, we can help to deliver positive change for all our communities.â€
The charter calls on the Government to:
In June, Oxford city council wrote to Environment Secretary Michael Gove to call for a 10-point contract with local authorities to provide more powers and funding to tackle air pollution.
And, in 2017 the local authority teamed up with Oxfordshire county council to announce plans for the worlds first Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre.
Councillor Tom Hayes, board member for a cleaner and greener environment at Oxford city council, said: â€œItâ€™s fantastic news that Southampton will be the first local authorityÂ to sign up to Oxfordâ€™s Cleaner Air Charter. Local authorities can only do so much within the legislative and funding framework set by Government.
â€œTogether, Oxford and Southampton are telling Michael Gove loudly and clearly that we need more money and stronger powers to achieve the best for people in our cities.â€
Going forward, councillor Hayes urged more councils to follow Southamptonâ€™s lead.
He said: â€œWe call on other local authorities to sign the Cleaner Air Charter.â€