Southampton agrees Clean Air Zone proposals and present ‘Green City Charter’

Councillors in Southampton have agreed proposals for a Clean Air Zone in the city and presented a ‘Green City Charter’ to combat air pollution.

The local authority decided against introducing a vehicle charge following a consultation and instead the CAZ will focus on other measures for HGVs, buses, taxis and shipping.

These include:

  • Shoreside power and preferential charging of the port HGV booking scheme.
  • Offering opportunities for businesses to assess and trial freight consolidation, thereby removing HGV trips in the city, and an accreditation scheme for HGV operators so businesses can identify those operators that are least polluting.
  • Introduction of a Traffic Regulation Condition that will ensure all operating buses meet the highest emission standard.
  • Revising taxi licensing conditions to remove the most polluting vehicles, expanding the existing low emission taxi scheme to support more operators, and offering a ‘try before you buy scheme’ for operators to experience the benefits of an electric taxi for up to 3 months.

In a statement, the council say the citywide Green City Charter will run alongside the CAZ and will deliver actions that ‘improve air quality, reduce pollution and waste, minimise the impact of climate change, reduce health inequalities and create a more sustainable approach to economic growth.’

Speaking about his ambition for the Green City Charter, Christopher Hammond, leader of Southampton City Council said: ‘Now is the time to make a commitment to making Southampton a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable and attractive place for everyone. We welcome the widespread support from across the city for the Green City Charter.’

Southampton air quality billboard

Details of the 9,000 responses received by Southampton City Council as part of its consultation on the establishment of a Clean Air Zone in the city were published last month.

Cllr Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City, added: ‘We received a fantastic response to the consultation on clear air last summer and it is very clear how aspirational people in Southampton are about the air they breathe.

‘The measures that we plan to introduce through the Green City Charter will go above and beyond meeting the Government’s expectations for future generations.’

The u-turn on private vehicles was criticised by clean air campaigners in the city.

Liz Batten of clean air campaign group Clean Air Southampton told AirQualityNews.com that the council are not addressing the risk to health that air pollution poses, and are ‘very concerned’ that the measures proposed don’t go far enough.

‘This despite the fact that 80% of vehicles passing the one point of exceedance in the city are private diesel cars and diesel vans,’ she added.