Southampton puts forward clean air measures

Southampton City Council has outlined measures to provide clean air in the city by 2020 without the need for a charging zone.

The council says that work already underway has significantly reduced nitrogen dioxide pollution over the last three years by 24 per cent in some of the most polluted areas.

It says that £15 million worth of projects, including introducing cleaner city buses, a low emission taxi incentive scheme and cleaner fuels and equipment at Southampton’s port, have all been successful in reducing nitrogen dioxide in the city.

Within the Proposed Business Case report, a proposal has been put forward to introduce further measures to ensure compliance is achieved even earlier than 2020 through ongoing improvements to air quality.

These include 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.

The plan proposes an 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 is also proposed. This expands on the existing low emission taxi scheme to support more operators, and will offer a ‘try before you buy scheme’ for operators to experience the benefits of an electric taxi for up to three months.

Steve Leggett, cabinet member for Green City, said: "Over the last few years we've led on a range of projects which have made a noticeable difference and made our air cleaner from pollution. However, we know that there is still a long way to go to tackle this silent killer. Which is why we will shortly be announcing a bold new Green City Charter which will address a range of environmental issues, including an aspiration to cut NOx pollution to 25ug (micro) by 2025 and to become a carbon neutral city by 2040. We will be encouraging everyone across the city to get involved and to commit to working with us to achieve this goal."

The plan will be put before the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee on the Clean Air Zone on 16 January.

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