Southampton council will deliver its final Clean Air Zone proposal to government before the end of January 2019 – the city council has revealed.
The local authority, which was instructed by government to submit proposals to address exceedances of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution limits on roads within the city – had been set a 31 December 2018 deadline for its outline business case on the proposals.
Southampton, which is working alongside New Forest district council, has consulted residents and businesses on the prospect of introducing a ‘Class B’ charging Clean Air Zone from early 2020 – with over 9,000 responses having been submitted as part of the process.
The proposal 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 in the centre of the city.
However, the authority is now seeking extra time to prepare its full business case due to the amount of analysis required following the volume of consultation feedback, changes to baseline data that has impacted on air quality modelling and feedback that has promoted further exploration into social and economic impacts.
The council has said it will submit its business case to government by 31 January 2019, which will be preceded by New Forest’s plan on 31 December.
Prior to submission, Southampton’s proposals will be discussed at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Panel on 16 January 2019, and then a decision will be taken at a special Cabinet meeting on 22 January 2019.
The city council says that despite the delay in submission of its proposal, “there will be no impact on the delivery of compliance by 2020â€?.
Councillor Steve Leggett, cabinet member green city, Southampton city council, said: “Clean air is vital to the health and wellbeing of people in the Southampton and the New Forest, and the huge response to the consultation shows the strength of feeling. Our shared priority is to reduce dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide to within legal limits in the shortest time possible.
“I’d like to thank local residents and organisations for taking the time to share their thoughts and ideas. The consultation feedback, in conjunction with the technical assessment results, will jointly inform the business case we submit.â€?