Clean Air Zone consultation for Southampton

DEFRA put out a call for responses to their consultation on Clean Air Zones and Southampton was one of the five cities included in the proposals. So, we organised a workshop in November, 2016 to bring together local experts – academics, politicians, councillors and concerned groups and individuals – and set to work to produce our list of ideas.

Southampton has such an array of potential sources of air pollution, it was a complex meeting to organise, and we did it very successfully. Here is our response, and thanks very much to all the people who helped us put it together.

Thanks also to Steve Guppy, Scientific Officer with Southampton City Council for the map of what Southampton’s Clean Air Zone might look like:

Steve Guppy - Clean Air Zone map.jpeg.001

This is just the beginning of the story, as the Government was taken to the High Court by ClientEarth last October, and told to re-visit their plans for Clean Air Zones. They have until April 2017 to re-issue their proposals and until July 2017 to enact them. The likely outcome of this revision will be the inclusion of all 37 towns and cities that are currently in breach of EU regulations on air quality. It is also possible that private cars may be included in the classes of vehicles to be regulated within the Clean Air Zones.

7 thoughts on “Clean Air Zone consultation for Southampton”

    1. Hi Trevor, as things stand, if you drive a diesel car or van the penalty charges won’t apply to you. The Government may decide to include private diesel cars in the next version of the plans, due out in April, but it doesn’t look very likely.

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  1. Hi,
    Yes, marine diesel/diesel vehicles (& Fawley refinery?) are a major cause of air pollution in Southampton & beyond! But it is essential to tackle this issue in the round.
    The BMJ recently wrote that the very high air quality alert issued for London recently was due to harmful (cancer causing) particulates in wood-burning stoves.
    Domestic wood burning in the UK is the largest single source of particulate matter.
    These stoves, along with garden bonfires, have no place in an urban environment.

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    1. Hi Brian, there was certainly a measured contribution to the London black alert from wood-burning stoves. We need an emergency plan in place to remove all sources of combustion from urban centres on days like those. We already have smoke control zones which could be properly enforced: https://www.southampton.gov.uk/environmental-issues/pollution/air-quality/smoke-control-areas.aspx. Added to that is the contribution from domestic and commercial gas heating boilers, which isn’t often mentioned. The newest high-efficiency condensing boilers emit far less NOx than older ones, so should also be on the agenda for urgent change.

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  2. We live in Southampton, we have to come up the M271 to enable us to get home… albeit not the city centre, but close to it. We are worried about how this will affect our financial situation living near the congestion charge zone or dare I say even in it depending on how wide it is, in it. What if we have to cross the zone to get home?! We own a diesel car and simply can’t afford to replace it. Is it time to sell up and leave?! Seems so unfair on those who have bought houses here years ago.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your concerns. There’s been a lot of talk about what might happen next, with the Clean Air Zone, but the Government’s plans won’t be published until 24th April. Once we get to see what they propose re private diesel cars we can start feeding back to them what we need locally. Those who influence policy at a national level are arguing that individuals who have bought diesel cars in good faith should not now be paying the penalty – it should be the motor manufacturers who should bear the cost of misleading vehicle owners for so long. Whether our Government is brave enough to stand up to them, as Germany and France have done, remains to be seen.

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